Florence Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of that era. It is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages". due to the prestige of the masterpieces by Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini. The Historic Centre of Florence attracts 13 million tourists each year, and Euromonitor International ranked the city as the worlds 89th most visited in 2012, with 1.8 million visitors. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. Due to Florences artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Florence is an important city in Italian fashion, as well as a tourist and industrial hub. In 2008, the city had the 17th highest average income in Italy.