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A history of florence city in italy

Landscape City site Florence was founded to control the only practicable north-south crossing of the Arno River to and from the three passes through the Apennines: Two thin streams, the Mugnone and the Affrico, come down through town to meet the Arno.

The Affrico, not far away from its source in the Apennines, is usually a grudging gurgle amid wide gravel beds far below the quays, but sometimes it rises and swells into a powerful stream, ravaging the city with floods.

Arno RiverArno River at Florence. Its hills offered some protection, but the citizens nonetheless felt compelled to erect imposing walls during the period 1285—1340; although the walls were largely torn down during urban expansion in the 1860s, their former presence remains clearly visible in a girdle of roads around the original city.

Moreover, because the hillier south bank of the Arno has prevented urban growth, segments of the walls are preserved. Beyond the historic centre of Florence, the city has expanded over the past century to accommodate waves of migration. Vast housing projects have been constructed, such as those at Isolotto 1954—55.

Huge satellite towns such as Scandicci have grown to rival the centre of Florence itself. Summers tend to be extremely hot and humid, and winters are cool and wet. Winters tend to be short-lived, ending generally in mid-March, and bring rain rather than snow. Unpleasantly cold showers can persist into April, however, much to the discomfort of the throng of Easter tourists. The most delightful seasons in which to visit Florence are late spring and fall, when the sky becomes an azure vault and the sun warms but does not scorch.

The skyline, however, is dominated by two imposing structures of later centuries. It housed the legislative and executive branches of the local civic government the priors and even today functions as the town hall of Florence. Palazzo VecchioPalazzo Vecchio, Florence. Wknight94 From behind the loggia and from the flank of the palazzo, the tall, colonnaded twin wings of a later building, the Uffizistretch down to the Arno.

An elegant edifice designed by Giorgio Vasariit was begun in 1560 to house the grand ducal offices.

A history of Florence in 12 buildings

East right and west left wings of the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, with the Palazzo Vecchio in the background. The building itself, located due north of the Piazza della Signoria, was begun by the sculptor Arnolfo di Cambio in 1296. Numerous local artists continued to work on it during the following century and a half.

  1. The business skills of the Italians are enhanced by their invention of double-entry book-keeping. The vague neo-platonic and evasive ideology had now been replaced by Machiavelli's harsh empirical conception of the modern state.
  2. The mid-century brings the successful struggle to be free of Austrian rule and the establishment of the independent kingdom of Italy - of which Florence is the provisional capital, from 1865, until Rome is captured in 1870. These expansionist tendencies are mirrored by similar appetites in powerful neighbours to the north, Milan and Venice.
  3. These sixth, and last, city walls were the greatest financial commitment ever undertaken by the Florentine Commune.
  4. The Allied soldiers who died driving the Germans from Tuscany are buried in cemeteries outside the city, Americans about 9 kilometers 5.

The painter Giotto designed its sturdy bell tower campanile in 1334. Yet the massive octagonal cupola 1420—36 that truly dominates both the church and the city was the proud achievement of Filippo Brunelleschimaster architect and sculptor. Opposite the cathedral stands the Baptistery ; the building dates from the 11th century but was believed by Florentines to be a surviving Roman monument when they commissioned for it a series of bronze doors with relief sculptures 1330; 1401—52.

The third pair of these doors, by Lorenzo Ghibertiwere of such rare beauty that Michelangelo christened them the Gates of Paradise. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore: Each of these churches is a monument of Renaissance art in its decoration. Alongside Santa Croce, Brunelleschi appended the Pazzi Chapel, designed geometrically around the motif of a circle within a square. Inside Santa Croce one finds major fresco cycles by the most famous early Florentine painter, Giotto.

Paradoxically, the patrons of this church were among the richest families of Florence, despite or perhaps because of the vows of poverty sworn by the Franciscan order.

Santa Croce has historical significance as well, because it became a kind of pantheon containing the tombs of famous Florentine scholars, writers, artists, and patriots. Across the Arno lies the modest Carmelite church of Santa Maria del Carminewhose Brancacci Chapel displays some of the most powerful early 15th-century frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino c.

The frescoes have been restored to their former glory, bringing out colours and details that had long been obscured. In 1290 Arnolfo built a loggia here for the wheat market, which, however, was destroyed by fire; a larger loggia was erected in 1377 and then enclosed to form a church in 1380. Its chief fame comes from its early 15th-century decoration donated by the major guilds of Florence. Each guild was assigned one of the tabernacles on the exterior of the Orsanmichele and expected to commission a sculpture for it.

The best works produced include bronzes a history of florence city in italy St. John the Baptist patron saint of the city and of the powerful Calimala guild [bankers and international traders in cloth] and St. Matthew for the Cambio, or bankers by Ghiberti and marbles of St. Mark linen drapers and St. George armourers by Donatello. North of the cathedral lay the province of the eventual rulers of Florence, the Medicia family of bankers.

On the square behind the house of the Medici stands the Augustinian church of San Lorenzofor which Brunelleschi made an austerely simple geometric Renaissance design based on his study of early Christian basilicas in Rome 1421. Medici patronage led to decisive artistic decorative additions. Donatello provided a bronze pulpit, and Brunelleschi added a sacristy the Old Sacristy ; about one century later Michelangelo balanced it with the New Sacristy, which contains his famous Medici Tombs.

Michelangelo also designed the Laurentian Librarynext to San Lorenzo, to house the great library assembled by the Medici family. Inside, a chapel contains a fresco by Benozzo Gozzolithe Procession of the Magi 1459in which the followers of the Magi are given features of the Medici.

Its enormous scale deliberately surpassed that of the Medici Palace. Noteworthy within the Strozzi Palace is a spacious courtyard, which by its use of arches and a loggia achieves a feeling of openness and simplicity. The hills behind this massive palace were transformed into magnificent gardens, the Boboli Gardensfilled with fountains, statues, and an amphitheatre; there operas and concerts for the Medici rulers betokened their courtly existence as the absolute rulers of the city.

Boboli Gardens Boboli Gardens, Florence. A touch of this severe judgment still clings to the Florentines, in whose makeup one tends to miss the exuberance and warmth associated with Italians in other towns and regions. Perhaps the Florentines, many of whom are descendants of long lines of Florentines, are reserved in self-defense against the massive stream of tourists, several million of whom crowd the historic sections of Florence.

Immigrants before the 1970s were mainly from the Tuscan region but also from the south of Italy. These immigrants have begun to change the cultural composition of the city. Indeed, some of the first explosions of racial animosity in Italy took place in Florence in the early 1990s, when Italian locals organized raids on immigrant street vendors, leading to a national debate over immigration.

Economy Industry, commerce, and services Thousands of Florentines work in industrial suburbs, where they are engaged in the production of furniture, rubber goods, chemicals, and food.

Yet the city lives primarily from tourism and the money brought in by foreign mainly American students. Traditional handicrafts—glassware and ceramics, wrought ironleatherwork, wares of precious metals, art reproductions, and the like—are still of some importance, along with some high-fashion clothing and shoe production.

Key fashion companies operating in the city include Gucci and Ferragamo. In the 1970s, however, Milan began to dominate a history of florence city in italy fashion sector.

  • The population began to grow again and commerce prospered;
  • After unification in 1861, Tuscany became a province of the Kingdom of Italy;
  • But due to internal divergent interests and an incapacity to govern, these guilds were unable to withstand the reaction of the large merchant middle classes which soon once more took over power;
  • Traditional handicrafts—glassware and ceramics, wrought iron , leatherwork, wares of precious metals, art reproductions, and the like—are still of some importance, along with some high-fashion clothing and shoe production;
  • These expansionist tendencies are mirrored by similar appetites in powerful neighbours to the north, Milan and Venice;
  • In 1492 Lorenzo died.

Of special appeal are the traditional festivals, many of them resplendent with the trappings of medieval pageantry and procession. Visitors can watch the fireworks on June 24 St. Craftwork is sold throughout the city, but several traditional marketplaces still exist. The vendors of straw objects—from tiny figurines to full-sized dresses—have their stalls in the Loggia of the Mercato Nuovo New Market; built 1547—51.

They opened for business there in the 16th century, when Grand Duke Ferdinand I deemed it inelegant for butcher shops to line the bridge as they had for the previous 200 years. The new occupants eventually enlarged their shops by building outward over the water, propping their three-story additions on brackets from the bridge. The back elevations of these extensions give the bridge its picturesque air.

Ponte VecchioPonte Vecchio, Florence. Traditional heavy industry is still important in the area. Major employers include Nuovo Pignone now part of the U. The city is now part of a huge industrial district running northwest to Prato and Pistoia.

However, the environment suffered, as the beautiful Tuscan countryside was slowly urbanized and motor vehicle traffic threatened to suffocate not just the city but the entire region. Transportation In the central area of Florence a solid pair of walking shoes is the best mode of transportation, especially since the historic section has been closed to motor vehicles.

Buses and taxis are also available, as are bicycles for hire. The main highway, the Autostrada del Sole, passes west and south of the city.

History of Florence

The Eurostar connects Florence with Milan in less than three hours and with Rome in less than two. In addition, Florence has its own airport, Amerigo Vespucci formerly Peretolaonly 3 miles 5 km from the city centre. Cultural life Florence has numerous museums, mostly devoted to painting and sculpture. The National Central Library Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale has been the Italian library of deposit since 1870, receiving a copy of every book published in the country.

It houses millions of autographs, manuscripts, letters, incunabula, and books, including many rare editions. The Riccardiana and Moreniana libraries adjoining the Medici Palace have the most complete collection, including valuable manuscripts, of works on Tuscan history.

The Gabinetto Scientifico e Letterario G. Vieusseux is a scientific and literary library founded in 1819 by Jean-Baptiste Vieusseux, who was the central figure of a group that included the leading literary figures of Italy at that time.

Other specialized learned institutions include an observatory; academies of fine arts, science, letters, and agrarian economics; and institutes of Etruscan and Italian studies, of the history of art, and of the history of optics. An increasing number of foreign countries and universities maintain institutes of study in Florence and its environs, attracting many historians and writers.

The institute is located just northeast of Florence, in the hillside towns of San Domenico and Fiesole. It is housed in historic buildings made available by the Italian government, including the Villa Schifanoia, the Convento di San Domenico, and the Badia Fiesolana.

Florence has always boasted an intellectual elite rivaling that of any city in Italy. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, historians Pasquale Villari and Gaetano Salvemini taught at the University of Florence. Salvemini was later forced out of Italy altogether by fascist violence. After the war, intellectuals of the calibre of legal scholar Piero Calamandrei, literary historian Gianfranco Contini, and communist social historian Ernesto Ragionieri all worked in the city, as did novelists such as Vasco Pratolini.

The cosmopolitan nature of the city has always produced a cultural milieu different from those of other, more closed Italian cities.

The various research institutes and faculties attached to the University of Florence are among the most important in Italy. The club has won the Italian championship on only two occasions in 1956 and 1969but it continues to inspire fanatical support from a history of florence city in italy followers.

When star Roberto Baggio was sold to archrival Juventus of Turin in 1990, Fiorentina supporters caused riots that paralyzed the city. The stadium, originally designed in the 1930s by Modernist architect Pier Luigi Nervi and named Stadio Comunale, has achieved national monument status. Page 1 of 2.