There are two things your eye cannot possibly miss when strolling the streets of Florence: the presence of the color purple (the color of the football team), and the beautiful city crest, the giglio, which is proudly displayed by Florentines on almost every possible surface. The giglio is a representation of an iris (not a lily, as many people think) that has been a symbol and pride for the city since its founding in 59 A.D. by the Romans.
An elaborate red lily placed on a white background, the origins of the crest are traced back to the city's founding by the famed Julius Caesar as a strategic military outpost. The breaking-ground reportedly took place during the spring celebrations to the goddess Flora giving the city the name Florentia, which consequently evolved to Florence.
The giglio was originally depicted as the white iris on red background, but the colors were reversed in the mid-13th century by Florentine Guelphs (papal supporters) as a celebratory gesture following a victory over their enemies, the Ghibellines (German emperor supporters).
There are countless other theories about the origin of the giglio, including the theory that an Etruscan ruler in the nearby town of Fiesole was named Fiorino (little flower), but we're going to stick with the most popular version for now.