The Municipality of Florence has an enduring vocation for international relationships and partnerships, as well as strong ties to the rest of the world.
Since the 1950s, the city has opened its vision to the European, Mediterranean and world situation thanks to the ideas and the action of mayor Giorgio La Pira. La Pira conceived and promoted The Mediterranean Dialogues, meetings of international relevance that aimed at dealing with major international issues in order to promote peace, cooperation and mutual understanding among people, and in particular in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Following this tradition the Municipality of Florence continues today to promote and organize international events to encourage peace and mutual understanding, also in the context of initiatives of decentralized cooperation, as well as in partnerships with the local governments of several countries on the southern Hemisphere, and in the context of projects and programs by the European Union, international organizations and the Region of Tuscany.
Nowadays Florence has over 30 city partnerships (sister cities, cities with friendship and brotherhood agreements). The Municipality of Florence, through its International Relations and Cooperation Office, deals with the institutional welcome of visiting foreign delegations, the preparation of initiatives and projects enhancing exchanges of experiences and best practices, activities and events aimed at increasing the sense of European identity, the right of citizenship and the participation in the decision making process of sustainable urban policies.
The Municipal staff also provides advice to the mayor, the deputy mayors and the city departments regarding international matters and also supports the participation of the Municipality in initiatives aimed at promoting the culture of peace, cooperation and respect for diversity. Moreover, its staff offers guided tours in several languages to the museum of Palazzo Vecchio for the international guests of the City Administration.
The City of Florence is also an active member in the major international city networks.