Like many cities, Florence once had a large Native American population. In 1818, a young Italian surveyor named Florence after his favorite city in Italy. The town was primarily a river town, making use of its proximity to the Tennessee River. During the Civil War, Florence was a town of turmoil. The town changed hands over 40 times, developing a rich history that is relished today.
Today, visitors will quickly recognize that the people of Florence value their past, and the community's warm and welcoming style make visitors feel right at home- right away. Perhaps the best way to experience this is on a walking tour of Downtown Florence. Delightful shops and a variety of eateries are housed in buildings of diverse architectural styles. Florence is known for its quaint Sears and Roebuck Catalog homes, and its collection of impressive Victorians. Those who enjoy architecture should plan to visit the Rosenbaum House, a National Historic Property, designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Visitors are encouraged to find a park bench and relax a while, and take in the simple, calm nature of Florence. Wilson Park is a great place to do just that. This lovely park also hosts one of this city's numerous festivals, the renowned Renaissance Faire. This annual event is held in October. Knights on horseback, sword fighting, crafts, and magicians help create the feeling of a genuine medieval Renaissance Faire.
Another popular festival is the annual Frontier Day Celebration, held in June. Hosted by Pope's Tavern (a museum congaing a wealth of pioneer artifacts) the event features an abundance of art, crafts, and exceptional dulcimer music. Without a doubt, one of Florence's most celebrated events is the W.C. Handy Music Festival, which celebrates the "father of the blues". This week-long affair is held in August, and draws local, as well as national musicians to the stage. But more than just a fantastic music festival, the event also incorporates bike rides, plays, education programs, running events, and mini-concerts held at local watering holes.
The Helen Keller Festival is held annually in June. For over 25 years, this festival has played tribute to the life of Helen Keller through festival fun such as a parade, music, crafts and food.
Visitors interested in recreational events won't be disappointed with Florence either. The construction of Wilson Dam created Wilson Lake, the hub of water recreation for the area.
Historian will enjoy at stop at the Florence Indian Mound, named "Wawmanona."
The mound was built as early as 500 A.D., and it is thought to have been used as a place for ceremonies. A museum located on the site houses an incredible collection of artifacts.
Florence is located in the northwest corner of Alabama, near Tennessee and Mississippi, in an area called the Shoals. It is located near the intersection of Route 17 and US Highway 72, approximately 115 miles northwest of Birmingham.