Arno River (Between Ponte vecchio and...
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Panoramabillede af Viktor Vokic EXPERT Taget 01:10, 11/10/2011 - Views loading...

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Arno River (Between Ponte vecchio and Ponte Santa Trinita)

The World > Europe > Italy > Tuscany > Florence

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The Arno is a river in the Tuscany region of Italy. It is the most important river of central Italy after the Tiber.

The river originates on Mount Falterona in the Casentino area of the Apennines, and takes initially a southward curve. The river turns to the west near Arezzo passing through Florence, Empoli and Pisa, flowing into the Tyrrhenian Sea at Marina di Pisa. With a length of 241 kilometers, it is the largest river in the region. It has many tributaries and these are them: Sieve (60 kilometers), Bisenzio (49 kilometers), Ombrone, Era, Elsa, Pesa and Pescia. The drainage basin amounts to more than 8,200 km² and drains the waters of the following sub-basins:
The Casentino, in the province of Arezzo, formed by the upper course of the river until the confluence with the Maestro della Chiana channel.
The Val di Chiana, a plain dried in the 18th century, which, until the 18th century, was a marshy area tributary of the Tiber.
The upper Valdarno, a long valley bordered from East by the Pratomagno massif and from West by the hills around Siena.
The Sieve's basin, which flows in the Arno immediately before Florence.
The middle Valdarno, with the plain including Florence, Sesto Fiorentino, Prato and Pistoia.
The lower Valdarno, with the valley of important tributaries such as the Pesa, Elsa and Era and in which, after Pontedera, the Arno flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The river has a very variable discharge, ranging from minimum values such as 6 m³/s to more than 2,000. The mouth of the river was once near Pisa, but is now several kilometres westwards.
It crosses Florence, where it passes below the Ponte Vecchio and the Santa Trìnita bridge (built by Bartolomeo Ammanati, but inspired by Michelangelo). The river flooded this city regularly in historical times, the last occasion being the famous flood of 1966, with 4,500 m³/s after a rain of 437.2 mm in Badia Agnano and 190 millimetres in Florence, in only 24 hours.

The flow rate of the Arno is irregular. It is sometimes described as having a torrent-like behaviour, because it can easily go from almost dry to near-flood in a few days. At the point where the Arno leaves the Apennines, flow measurements can vary between 0.56 m³/s and 3,540 m³/s. New dams built upstream of Florence have greatly alleviated the problem in recent years.

A flood on November 4, 1966 collapsed the embankment in Florence, killing at least 40 people and damaging or destroying millions of works of art and rare books. New conservation techniques were inspired by the disaster, but even 40 years later hundreds of works still await restoration.

(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arno)

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Billeder tæt på Florence

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A: Back alley in Florence (near Ponte Vecchio)

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C: Ponte Santa Trinita (Holy Trinity Bridge) at Dawn

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F: Italy Florenz Bridge

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G: Ponte Vecchio

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H: Borgo San Jacopo

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I: 360 degree panorama in Florence

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Dette panorama blev taget i Florence

Dette er et overblik over Florence

Overview and History

Florence has been relaxing since the very beginning, when Julius Caesar adapted the location to serve as a home for veteran soldiers. Its name means "flourishing" and that's what it's been doing ever since.

If we can ignore that pesky evidence of neolithic rock-smashers, Florence has been occupied for about two thousand years.

Caesar wisely chose the intersection of two rivers for the location of Florence, for defensive purposes. Admittedly he was not the first person to think of this idea, but we'll let him have it for now.

The Arno and Mugnone are the rivers over which Florentines built their beautiful bridges, in order to have something else to decorate. See Ponte Veccio for illustration.

Like all Roman cities, Florence was originally rectangular in shape, bearing long straight roads with ninety degree intersections. The heart of the city was originally at the intersection where today, you will find the Piazza della Republica.

"Piazza" means plaza, not pizza. For my American subway riders.

Being located in a fertile valley along a major river attracted people, commerce and wealth, according to the laws of burgeoning civilization, and Florence grew up to be a leader in all the new phases, such as the Cult of Isis and later, Christianity.

The dark ages hit Florence a little earlier than the rest of Europe. Because of its location on the Italian peninsula, it was fought over viciously during the Gotho-Byzantine war. When Florence was cut off from communications and trade with Rome in the 6th century, its status descended into terrible Lombard dominion most, most foul.

Charlemagne and the Carolingian empire were next up in the roster of rulers, so Florence became a county of the Holy Roman Empire.

Over the next five centuries Florence experienced more growth and construction and landed as the capital of the Tuscany region in the thirteenth century. Merchants' associations multiplied and brought international trade relations to Florence, and yet more wealth for the construction of Gothic buildings, such as the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore.

By the thirteenth century, Florence had rightly earned the reputation as the main city of the West. To symbolize this, they constructed the Palazzo della Signoria.

Enter Black Plague, 1348. Cue flood, wipe out bridges over Arno river. Begin serious urban planning as of fourteenth century, to remedy the economic and political crises.

Remedy? Rhymes with Medici? The Medici family took power by representing the disenfranchised middle class, and began the Italian Renaissance proper.

I suppose being bankers to the Pope didn't hurt the Medicis in their stellar rise to power and fame. The family sponsored generations of artists and thus became responsible for the creation of unsurpassable masterpieces by such titans as Leonardo di Vinci, Michaelangelo, Donatello, Boticelli, Brunelleschi... apologies to the curtness of this sneeze of a historical kleenex I write.

Let's jump to the year 1737, when the last of the Medicis died. Florence temporarily became part of the Austrian empire, then the capital of Italy in 1865. Rome took over six years later as capital and we enter the modern times.

Florence was occupied by the Germans for a year during World War Two. Mussolini met here with Hitler in 1940, after which he led Italy into the war as an Axis power.

In Florence, you will get an education in the Renaissance whether you mean to or not. Her progress now continues into the third millenium, where preservation may be the key word. Automobile exhaust is bad for marble, you know?

Getting There

If traveling by air, you'll fly into either Pisa International Airport or Peretola Airport. Or the ocean but let's say that won't happen.

Peretola is closer to Florence (5km) but it's a small, single-runway airport. In 1990 it was renamed after Amerigo Vespucci, so Peretola is also called Vespucci just to confuse matters. From it you can take a bus, taxi or rent a car to get where you're going. The bus takes about half an hour and costs less than five Euro.

Pisa airport is keeping Tuscany's profile high in the world! The best way to connect to Florence is by the train, which costs about the same five Euros but takes an hour and a half.

Arriving by train is another option for European travelers. For some reason they haven't finished the underground transatlantic subway so Americans will have to fly.

The Santa Maria Novella train station is right in the center of the city and offers connections to bus lines, taxis, or your shoes for walking. For long range view, it connects Rome, and all of southern Italy, to the rest of Europe.

Car rental information is here. Practice yelling and swerving first so you'll be ready.

Taxi fare from Vespucci airport should be about fifteen Euro.

Transportation

The city transit is run by ATAF bus company. Tickets are under two Euro and you can buy them all over the place at newspaper stands and such.

Most importantly, the center of the city is closed to through traffic and requires a special residency permit to drive there. The restricted area is called the ZTL, or Zone of Traffic Limitation. Car renters make note.

People and Culture

Florence is a very international city and they're on the Euro, so visiting while you're in Europe is no problem. Skipping Florence is a problem. Trying to describe it is an even bigger one, so come and have a look for yourself. The drinking age is only eighteen and the city is filled with students.

Things to do & Recommendations

If you speak the language of food and wine, Florence will be your home away from home. Tuscany is one of the world's great wine producers; the Chianti region is only a few clicks west of Florence.

Outdoor cinemas, theater, opera, ballet, cafes, and museums will easily fill up your time walking and gawking.

Here is a short list of pinpoints to start with in Florence, again with apologies to everything and everyone we had to leave out in consideration of space.

Michaelangelo's David

Santa Croce: medieval Franciscan basilica, National Central Library

Rifredi: where you can find Medici villas and also Chinese and African immigrants, and Peretola airport.

Check out Oltrarno for a kinda bohemian neighborhood.

For nightlife, go through all the floors of Central Park (the club) and call me in the morning. Which will be around 3pm if you really do it. Here's the best link we've got since their site went down.

Now can you please pass me the carafe? People do not grow any older while we're at the table. Thanks!

Text by Steve Smith.

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