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Florence, the seat of Lauderdale County, is situated in the northwest corner of Alabama. Florence is the largest city in the metropolitan statistical area known as "The Shoals" (which also includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia) and is the economic center of northwestern Alabama. According to the 2000 census, the city's population was 36,264.

Florence was surveyed for the Cypress Land Company in 1818 by Italian surveyor Ferdinand Sannoner who named it for his favorite city, Tuscany's famous capital, Florence - which also had a prominent river, the Arno. Florence was first incorporated in 1826.

Florence is the birthplace of W.C. Handy, the "Father of the Blues," as well as of pioneering record producer Sam Phillips, discoverer of Elvis Presley. T.S. Stribling, a 20th century author and Florence resident, wrote a prose trilogy about the city consisting of The Forge, The Store (which won the Pulitzer Prize), and Unfinished Cathedral.

Florence is renowned for its annual tourism events W.C. Handy Music Festival in the summer, and the Renaissance Faire in the autumn. Florence landmarks include the Rosenbaum home, the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home located in the Southeast. Florence's municipal government is a mayor-council type

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