If your perception of Florence has been shaped by Room with a View and twee visits by the English gentry, the reality is rather different. Florence has been shaped by power and money, enabled by violence as required. Whilst Venice is serene, you feel that in Florence aggression is always close to the surface. You can see it in the aggressive nature of many of the Palazzo and you can feel it in the air. It is a a throbbing, fast-moving place, even if today the principle business is supporting the vast hordes of tourists who fill every street.
The violent aggression has though been the source of incredible cultural innovation and it is hard to turn a corner without confronting another masterpiece. More of those in subsequent posts.