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Piazza della Signoria Florence, Italy

Built on the ruins of the 13th century Ghibelline homes, Piazza della Signoria has been the center of the political and social life of the city for centuries and is without doubt the most beautiful public square in Florence, Italy.

Today, its importance hasn't diminished and is a major tourist spot in the Florence city, flanked by bronze statues and fine Renaissance architecture. Besides this, it is also the address of the town hall, whose bell tower presides over it.

Uffizzi GalleryThe bell is only tolled on the most solemn occasions, and in times of crisis: the last time it was tolled was after the Mafia's bombing of the Uffizi in 1993, and before then it had not been tolled since the 1930s - when the city was ruinously flooded, destroying much precious artwork.

Midsummer in Florence sees a veritable carpet of flowers covering the main square, the Piazza della Signoria. The blooms stretch down to the neighbouring Uffizi galleries. Perfectly arranged, meticulously tended, they provide a riot of colour and are a great source of civic pride. The flowers that decorate the piazza's flagstones each summer are not just to please visitors, they are there to celebrate a flourishing and resilient city.