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Florence, capital of the Tuscany region of Italy, has a population of around 0.5 million inhabitants. It spreads along the banks of the Arno river, between the Adriatic and the Tyrrhenian seas, almost in the middle of the Italian peninsula. Florence is a city which bustles with industry and craft, commerce and culture, art and science. It is a well connected city and a good base for exploring the local countryside and beyond. The climate is temperate but rather variable, with breezy winters and hot summers.

The Chianti area, between Florence and Siena, has some of the most beautiful countryside in Italy and is a famous wine producing area.

The Rough Guide says of Florence "Since the early nineteenth century, Florence has been celebrated as the epitome of everything that is beautiful in Italy: Stendhal staggered around the city's medieval streets in a stupor of delight, the Brownings sighed over its charms and E.M. Forster's A Room with a View portrayed it as the great antidote to the bloodless sterility of Anglo-Saxon life. For most visitors, first impressions tend to confirm the myth, the stupendous dome of Florence's cathedral visible over the rooftops from afar."