For many Americans ‘old’ means a few hundred years, and ‘history’ is found in books, museums and historic sites. For Western Europeans, a few hundred years is borderline ‘contemporary.’ There are very few places on Earth where the ubiquity of the distant past is as ‘in-your-face’ as Florence, home to some of the greatest cultural achievements of humankind. What happens to us when we walk down the same streets as Dante, Michelangelo and Leonardo, and see evidence of them everywhere? What do we feel when we drink in the same view of the Arno as they did? How are our spirits lifted when we hear the bells of Giotto’s campanile echoing through the city, the same haunting sounds heard 500 years ago?