Florence, Italy

by: Iyna Bort Caruso

The likes of Michelangelo, Botticelli and Leonard da Vinci have left their genius on Florence, the Tuscan capital that can feel like an open-air museum. The city that is the birthplace of the Renaissance is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Art flourishes in its churches, bridges and squares.

One of Italy’s most affluent cities, Florence is a heart-stealer that offers residents a rich cultural life, which is why it isn’t just respected. It is revered. The Uffizi Gallery, the Cathedral of Manta Maria del Fiore, the Palazzo Pitti and the Ponte Vecchio are among the historic treasures that can make one forget Florence is also a city with a solid infrastructure, strong healthcare system and a well-regarded system of higher education.

Wealthy Tuscans have historically owned palatial residences, or palazzos, in Centro Storico, the historic center within the old city walls. The homes built centuries ago for families and their large households staffs have largely been partitioned into elegant apartments, careful that prized finishes like carved wood ceilings, frescos and terracotta floors have been preserved. Some estates on the market still retain the crest of the original noble families. Others homes have been converted from ancient convents and even theaters into extraordinary estates with interior gardens.

Centro Storico has also been a draw for international buyers as a second home destination and a retirement locale. There are no restrictions on Florence real estate purchases by non-nationals.

Florence is surrounded by green hills. Villas on the hill of Bellosguardo offer intimate views of the city just minutes from Centro Storico. Deeper into the ancient Tuscan hill country yet with postcard city views are the hilltop villages of Fiesole and Settignano, the places Florentine aristocracy once built their summer homes. Their legacy remains in this area flecked grapevines, olive groves and castles.

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