Florence

Florence
Firenze
Comune
Comune di Firenze
A collage of Florence showing the Galleria degli Uffizi (top left), followed by the Palazzo Pitti, a sunset view of the city and the Fountain of Neptune in the Piazza della Signoria.
A collage of Florence showing the Galleria degli Uffizi (top left), followed by the Palazzo Pitti, a sunset view of the city and the Fountain of Neptune in the Piazza della Signoria.
Flag of Florence
Flag
Coat of arms of Florence
Coat of arms
Florence is located in Italy
Florence
Florence
Florence is located in Tuscany
Florence
Florence
Florence is located in Europe
Florence
Florence
Location of Florence in Italy
Coordinates: 43°47′N 11°15′E / 43°47′N 11°15′E / 43.783; 11.250
Country Italy
Region Flag of Tuscany.svg Tuscany
Province / Metropolitan city Florence (FI)
Government
 • Mayor Dario Nardella ( PD)
Area
 • Total 102.41 km2 (39.54 sq mi)
Elevation 50 m (160 ft)
Population (30 June 2016) [1]
 • Total 383,083
 • Density 3,700/km2 (9,700/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Fiorentini, fiorentino
Time zone CET ( UTC+1)
 • Summer ( DST) CEST ( UTC+2)
Postal code 50121–50145
Dialing code 055
Patron saint John the Baptist
Saint day 24 June
Website Official website

Florence ( s/ FLOR-əns; Italian: Firenze [fiˈrɛntse] ( About this sound  listen)) [2] is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,083 inhabitants in 2013, and over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area. [3]

Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of that era. [4] It is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages". [5] A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family and numerous religious and republican revolutions. [6] From 1865 to 1871 the city was the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy. The Florentine dialect forms the base of Standard Italian and it became the language of culture throughout Italy [7] due to the prestige of the masterpieces by Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini.

The city attracts millions of tourists each year, and the Historic Centre of Florence was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. [8] The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art, culture and politics. [9] Due to Florence's artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. [10]

Florence is an important city in Italian fashion, [9] being ranked in the top 15 fashion capitals of the world; [11] furthermore, it is a major national economic centre, [9] as well as a tourist and industrial hub. In 2008, the city had the 17th highest average income in Italy. [12]

History

View of Florence by Hartmann Schedel, published in 1493

Florence originated as a Roman city, and later, after a long period as a flourishing trading and banking medieval commune, it was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, it was politically, economically, and culturally one of the most important cities in Europe and the world from the 14th to 16th centuries. [8]

The language spoken in the city during the 14th century was, and still is, accepted as the Italian language. Almost all the writers and poets in Italian literature of the golden age are in some way connected with Florence, leading ultimately to the adoption of the Florentine dialect, above all the local dialects, as a literary language of choice. [13]

Starting from the late Middle Ages, Florentine money—in the form of the gold florin—financed the development of industry all over Europe, from Britain to Bruges, to Lyon and Hungary. Florentine bankers financed the English kings during the Hundred Years War. They similarly financed the papacy, including the construction of their provisional capital of Avignon and, after their return to Rome, the reconstruction and Renaissance embellishment of Rome.

Florence was home to the Medici, one of European history's most important noble families. Lorenzo de' Medici was considered a political and cultural mastermind of Italy in the late 15th century. Two members of the family were popes in the early 16th century: Leo X and Clement VII. Catherine de Medici married king Henry II of France and, after his death in 1559, reigned as regent in France. Marie de' Medici married Henry IV of France and gave birth to the future king Louis XIII. The Medici reigned as Grand Dukes of Tuscany, starting with Cosimo I de' Medici in 1569 and ending with the death of Gian Gastone de' Medici in 1737.

Roman origins

Historical affiliations
Consul et lictores.png Roman Republic 59–27 BC

Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg Roman Empire 27 BC–285 AD
Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg Western Roman Empire 285–476
Kingdom of Odoacer 476–493
Ostrogothic Kingdom 493–553
Simple Labarum.svg Eastern Roman Empire 553-568
Corona ferrea monza (heraldry).svg Lombard Kingdom 570–773
Charlemagne autograph.svg Carolingian Empire 774–797
Corona ferrea monza (heraldry).svg Regnum Italiae 797–1001
Shield and Coat of Arms of the Holy Roman Emperor (c.1200-c.1300).svg March of Tuscany 1002–1115
Flag of Florence.svg Republic of Florence 1115–1532
Coat of arms of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (1562-1737).svg Duchy of Florence 1532–1569
Bandiera del granducato di Toscana (1562-1737 ).png Grand Duchy of Tuscany 1569–1801
Etrurian Kingdom and War Flag with Great Royal Coat of Arms.svg Kingdom of Etruria 1801–1807
Flag of France.svg First French Empire 1807–1815
Flag of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (1840).svg Grand Duchy of Tuscany 1815–1859
Flag of Italy.svg United Provinces of Central Italy 1859–1860
Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg Kingdom of Italy 1861–1946

Flag of Italy.svg Italian Republic 1946–present
Julius Caesar established Florence in 59 BC
The Goth King Totila razes the walls of Florence during the Gothic War: illumination from the Chigi manuscript of Villani's Cronica

The Etruscans initially formed in 200 BC the small settlement of Fiesole (Faesulae in Latin), [14] which was destroyed by Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 80 BC in reprisal for supporting the populares faction in Rome. The present city of Florence was established by Julius Caesar in 59 BC as a settlement for his veteran soldiers and was named originally Fluentia, owing to the fact that it was built between two rivers, which was later changed to Florentia ("flowering"). [15] It was built in the style of an army camp with the main streets, the cardo and the decumanus, intersecting at the present Piazza della Repubblica. Situated along the Via Cassia, the main route between Rome and the north, and within the fertile valley of the Arno, the settlement quickly became an important commercial centre.

In centuries to come, the city experienced turbulent periods of Ostrogothic rule, during which the city was often troubled by warfare between the Ostrogoths and the Byzantines, which may have caused the population to fall to as few as 1,000 people. Peace returned under Lombard rule in the 6th century. Florence was conquered by Charlemagne in 774 and became part of the Duchy of Tuscany, with Lucca as capital. The population began to grow again and commerce prospered. In 854, Florence and Fiesole were united in one county.[ citation needed]

Second millennium

The Basilica di San Miniato al Monte

Margrave Hugo chose Florence as his residency instead of Lucca at about 1000 AD. The Golden Age of Florentine art began around this time. In 1013, construction began on the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte. The exterior of the church was reworked in Romanesque style between 1059 and 1128. In 1100, Florence was a "Commune", meaning a city state. The city's primary resource was the Arno river, providing power and access for the industry (mainly textile industry), and access to the Mediterranean sea for international trade. Another great source of strength was its industrious merchant community. The Florentine merchant banking skills became recognised in Europe after they brought decisive financial innovation (e.g. bill of exchange, [16] double entry book keeping) to medieval fairs. This period also saw the eclipse of Florence's formerly powerful rival Pisa (defeated by Genoa in 1284 and subjugated by Florence in 1406), and the exercise of power by the mercantile elite following an anti-aristocratic movement, led by Giano della Bella, that resulted in a set of laws called the Ordinances of Justice (1293).[ citation needed]

Middle Ages and Renaissance

Rise of the Medici

Leonardo da Vinci statue outside the Uffizi Gallery

Of a population estimated at 94,000 before the Black Death of 1348, [17] about 25,000 are said to have been supported by the city's wool industry: in 1345 Florence was the scene of an attempted strike by wool combers (ciompi), who in 1378 rose up in a brief revolt against oligarchic rule in the Revolt of the Ciompi. After their suppression, Florence came under the sway (1382–1434) of the Albizzi family, who became bitter rivals of the Medici.

In the 15th century, Florence was among the largest cities in Europe, considered rich and economically successful. Life was not idyllic for all residents though, among whom there were great disparities in wealth. [18] Cosimo de' Medici was the first Medici family member to essentially control the city from behind the scenes. Although the city was technically a democracy of sorts, his power came from a vast patronage network along with his alliance to the new immigrants, the gente nuova (new people). The fact that the Medici were bankers to the pope also contributed to their ascendancy. Cosimo was succeeded by his son Piero, who was, soon after, succeeded by Cosimo's grandson, Lorenzo in 1469. Lorenzo was a great patron of the arts, commissioning works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli. Lorenzo was an accomplished poet and musician and brought composers and singers to Florence, including Alexander Agricola, Johannes Ghiselin, and Heinrich Isaac. By contemporary Florentines (and since), he was known as "Lorenzo the Magnificent" (Lorenzo il Magnifico).

Following Lorenzo de' Medici's death in 1492, he was succeeded by his son Piero II. When the French king Charles VIII invaded northern Italy, Piero II chose to resist his army. But when he realised the size of the French army at the gates of Pisa, he had to accept the humiliating conditions of the French king. These made the Florentines rebel and they expelled Piero II. With his exile in 1494, the first period of Medici rule ended with the restoration of a republican government.

Savonarola and Machiavelli

Girolamo Savonarola being burnt at the stake in 1498

During this period, the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola had become prior of the San Marco monastery in 1490. He was famed for his penitential sermons, lambasting what he viewed as widespread immorality and attachment to material riches. He blamed the exile of the Medici as the work of God, punishing them for their decadence. He seized the opportunity to carry through political reforms leading to a more democratic rule. But when Savonarola publicly accused Pope Alexander VI of corruption, he was banned from speaking in public. When he broke this ban, he was excommunicated. The Florentines, tired of his extreme teachings, turned against him and arrested him. He was convicted as a heretic and burned at the stake on the Piazza della Signoria on 23 May 1498.

A second individual of unusually acute insight was Niccolò Machiavelli, whose prescriptions for Florence's regeneration under strong leadership have often been seen as a legitimisation of political expediency and even malpractice. In other words, Machiavelli was a political thinker, perhaps most renowned for his political handbook, titled The Prince, which is about ruling and the exercise of power. Commissioned by the Medici, Machiavelli also wrote the Florentine Histories, the history of the city. Florentines drove out the Medici for a second time and re-established a republic on 16 May 1527. Restored twice with the support of both Emperor and Pope, the Medici in 1537 became hereditary dukes of Florence, and in 1569 Grand Dukes of Tuscany, ruling for two centuries. In all Tuscany, only the Republic of Lucca (later a Duchy) and the Principality of Piombino were independent from Florence.

18th and 19th centuries

Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor and his family. Leopold was, from 1765 to 1790, the Grand Duke of Tuscany

The extinction of the Medici dynasty and the accession in 1737 of Francis Stephen, duke of Lorraine and husband of Maria Theresa of Austria, led to Tuscany's temporary inclusion in the territories of the Austrian crown. It became a secundogeniture of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty, who were deposed for the House of Bourbon-Parma in 1801. From 1801 to 1807 Florence was the capital of the Napoleonic client state Kingdom of Etruria. Bourbon-Parma were deposed in December 1807 when Tuscany was annexed by France. Florence was the prefecture of the French département of Arno from 1808 to the fall of Napoleon in 1814. The Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty was restored on the throne of Tuscany at the Congress of Vienna but finally deposed in 1859. Tuscany became a region of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.

Florence replaced Turin as Italy's capital in 1865 and, in an effort to modernise the city, the old market in the Piazza del Mercato Vecchio and many medieval houses were pulled down and replaced by a more formal street plan with newer houses. The Piazza (first renamed Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, then Piazza della Repubblica, the present name) was significantly widened and a large triumphal arch was constructed at the west end. This development was unpopular and was prevented from continuing by the efforts of several British and American people living in the city.[ citation needed] A museum recording the destruction stands nearby today.

The country's second capital city was superseded by Rome six years later, after the withdrawal of the French troops made its addition to the kingdom possible.

20th century

Porte Sante cemetery, burial place of notable figures of Florentine history.

After doubling during the 19th century, Florence's population was to triple in the 20th, resulting from growth in tourism, trade, financial services and industry.

During World War II the city experienced a year-long German occupation (1943–1944) and was declared an open city by the retreating Germans after New Zealand troops stormed the Pian dei Cerri hills overlooking the city. The Allied soldiers who died driving the Germans from Tuscany are buried in cemeteries outside the city (Americans about nine kilometres (5.6 miles) south of the city, British and Commonwealth soldiers a few kilometres east of the centre on the right bank of the Arno). In 1944, the retreating Germans decided to demolish all the bridges along the Arno linking the district of Oltrarno to the rest of the city, making it difficult for the British troops to cross. However, at the last moment Charles Steinhauslin, at the time consulate of 26 countries in Florence, convinced the German general in Italy that the Ponte Vecchio was not to be destroyed due to its historical value.[ citation needed]

Instead, an equally historic area of streets directly to the south of the bridge, including part of the Corridoio Vasariano, was destroyed using mines. Since then the bridges have been restored to their original forms using as many of the remaining materials as possible, but the buildings surrounding the Ponte Vecchio have been rebuilt in a style combining the old with modern design. Shortly before leaving Florence, as they knew that they would soon have to retreat, the Germans executed many freedom fighters and political opponents publicly, in streets and squares including the Piazza Santo Spirito.[ citation needed]

Florence was liberated by the New Zealand Army (2nd New Zealand Division) and South African troops on 4 August 1944.

At the end of World War II in Europe, in May 1945, the US Army's Information and Educational Branch was ordered to establish an overseas university campus for demobilised American service men and women in Florence, Italy. The first American University for service personnel was established in June 1945 at the School of Aeronautics in Florence, Italy. Some 7,500 soldier-students were to pass through the University during its four one-month sessions (see G. I. American Universities). [19]

In November 1966, the Arno flooded parts of the centre, damaging many art treasures. Around the city there are tiny placards on the walls noting where the flood waters reached at their highest point.

On 25 May 2016 the BBC reported that a sinkhole, thought to have been caused by a bursting of a water pipe, opened up a 200-metre (660 ft) hole on the Arno river bank in Florence. [20]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Florence
Alemannisch: Florenz
አማርኛ: ፍሎረንስ
Ænglisc: Florentia
العربية: فلورنسا
aragonés: Florencia
asturianu: Florencia
Aymar aru: Firenze
azərbaycanca: Florensiya
تۆرکجه: فلورانس
Bân-lâm-gú: Firenze
беларуская: Фларэнцыя
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Флярэнцыя
Bikol Central: Florence
български: Флоренция
Boarisch: Florenz
bosanski: Firenca
brezhoneg: Firenze
català: Florència
Cebuano: Florencia
čeština: Florencie
corsu: Fiurenza
Cymraeg: Fflorens
dansk: Firenze
Deutsch: Florenz
eesti: Firenze
Ελληνικά: Φλωρεντία
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Fiuränza
español: Florencia
Esperanto: Florenco
estremeñu: Florencia
euskara: Florentzia
فارسی: فلورانس
français: Florence
Frysk: Florâns
Gaeilge: Flórans
Gàidhlig: Firenze
galego: Florencia
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Firenze
한국어: 피렌체
Հայերեն: Ֆլորենցիա
हिन्दी: फ़्लोरेन्स
hornjoserbsce: Florenc
hrvatski: Firenca
Ido: Firenze
Bahasa Indonesia: Firenze
interlingua: Florentia
Interlingue: Firenze
íslenska: Flórens
italiano: Firenze
עברית: פירנצה
Basa Jawa: Firenze
Kapampangan: Plorensya
ქართული: ფლორენცია
қазақша: Флоренция
kernowek: Florens
Kiswahili: Firenze
Kreyòl ayisyen: Florence
Кыргызча: Флоренция
Latina: Florentia
latviešu: Florence
Lëtzebuergesch: Florenz
lietuvių: Florencija
Ligure: Firense
Limburgs: Florence
lumbaart: Firenz
magyar: Firenze
македонски: Фиренца
മലയാളം: ഫ്ലോറൻസ്
مصرى: فلورنسا
مازِرونی: فلورانس
Bahasa Melayu: Florence
монгол: Флоренц
Dorerin Naoero: Firenze
Nederlands: Florence (stad)
नेपाली: फ्लोरेन्स
नेपाल भाषा: फ्लोरेन्स
Napulitano: Sciorenza
нохчийн: Флоренци
Nordfriisk: Florenz
norsk: Firenze
norsk nynorsk: Firenze
occitan: Florença
олык марий: Флоренций
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Florensiya
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਫਲੋਰੈਂਸ
پنجابی: فلورنس
Papiamentu: Florenza
Piemontèis: Firense
Plattdüütsch: Florenz
polski: Florencja
português: Florença
Qaraqalpaqsha: Florenciya
română: Florența
Runa Simi: Firenze
русский: Флоренция
संस्कृतम्: फ्लोरेंस
sardu: Firenze
Scots: Florence
Seeltersk: Florenz
shqip: Firencia
sicilianu: Firenzi
Simple English: Florence
slovenčina: Florencia
slovenščina: Firence
ślůnski: Firenze
српски / srpski: Фиренца
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Firenca
suomi: Firenze
svenska: Florens
tarandíne: Firenze
татарча/tatarça: Флоренция
తెలుగు: ఫ్లోరెన్స్
Türkçe: Floransa
Twi: Firenze
українська: Флоренція
اردو: فلورنس
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: Florénsa
vèneto: Firense
vepsän kel’: Florencii
Tiếng Việt: Firenze
Volapük: Firenze
文言: 翡冷翠
West-Vlams: Firenze
Winaray: Florensya
ייִדיש: פירענצע
粵語: 翡冷翠
žemaitėška: Florencėjė
中文: 佛罗伦萨
Kabɩyɛ: Florɛnsɩ