Florence in Florence
Florence ( , alternate obsolete form: Fiorenza; Latin: Florentia) is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area.
Located on the banks of the River Arno, Florence is famous for its history and especially its importance in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, its art and architecture and, more generally, for its cultural heritage. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1870 the city was also the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy.
The historic centre of Florence attracts millions of tourists each year, and Euromonitor International ranked the city as the world's 72nd most visited in 2009, with 1,685,000 visitors. It was declared a World Heritage Site UNESCO in 1982. Due to Florence's artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and the city is noted for its history, culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace, amongst others, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art, culture and politics.
Florence is also an important city in Italian fashion, furthermore, it is also a major national economic centre,
The language spoken in the city there during the 14th century was, and still is, accepted as a pan-Italian language. Almost all the writers and poets in the Italian literature of the golden age are somewhat connected with Florence, leading ultimately to the adoption of the Florentine dialect above all the local dialects, as a literary language of choice.
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, as well as the papacy, including the construction of their provisional capital of Avignon and, after their return to Rome, the reconstruction and Renaissance embellishment of the latter.
Florence was home to the Medici, one of 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 as Leo X and Clement VII in the early 16th century. Catherine de Medici, married king Henry II of France and, after his death in 1559, reigned as regent in France. The Medici reigned Grand Dukes of Tuscany starting with Cosimo I de' Medici in 1569, until the death of Gian Gastone de' Medici in 1737.
Florence was established by Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 80 BC as a settlement for his veteran soldiers and was named originally Fluentia, owing the fact that it was built between two rivers, which was later corrupted to Florentia. 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 at 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. The Emperor Diocletian is said to have made Florentia the seat of a bishopric around the beginning of the 4th century AD, but this seems impossible in that Diocletian was a notable persecutor of Christians.
In the ensuing two centuries, 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.
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 baptistery was reworked in Romanesque style between 1059, and 1128. 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).
Middle Ages and Renaissance
Rise of the Medici
Of a population estimated at 94,000 before the Black Death of 1348, 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, 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. 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 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 the death of Lorenzo de' Medici 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 realized 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
During this period, the Dominican monk 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 Medicis 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 unusual insight was Niccolò Machiavelli, whose prescriptions for Florence's regeneration under strong leadership have often been seen as a legitimization of political expediency and even malpractice. 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
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 Bourbon-Parma in 1801, themselves 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 province of the United 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 Emmanuele 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. 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.
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. The Allied soldiers who died driving the Germans from Tuscany are buried in cemeteries outside the city (Americans about nine kilometres 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 blew up 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 Charle Steinhauslin, at the time consulate of 26 countries in Florence, convinced the German general in Italy that the Ponte Vecchio was not to be blown up due to its historical value.
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 murdered many freedom fighters and political opponents publicly, in streets and squares including the Piazza Santo Spirito.
At the end of World War II in Europe, in May 1945, the U.S. Army's Information and Educational Branch was ordered to establish an overseas university campus for demobilized 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. Some7,500 soldier-students were to pass through the University during its four one-month sessions (see G. I. American Universities).
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.
In November 2002 the city was the place of birth of the first edition of the European Social Forum.
Florence lies in a basin among the Senese Clavey Hills, particularly the hills of Careggi, Fiesole, Settignano, Arcetri, Poggio Imperiale and Bellosguardo (Florence). The Arno river and three other minor rivers flow through it.
Florence has a borderline humid subtropical (Cfa) and Mediterranean climate (Csa). It has hot, humid summers with high rainfall and cool, damp winters. Surrounded by hills in a river valley, Florence can be hot and humid from June to August. As Florence lacks a prevailing wind, summer temperatures are higher than along the coast. Rainfall in summer is convectional, while relief rainfall dominates in the winter, with some snow. The highest officially recorded temperature was 42.6 °C in 26 July 1983 and the lowest was -23.2 °C on 12 January 1985.
The traditional subdivision of Florence into four quarters dates from the 14th century (that today compose the old town):
- Santa Maria Novella
- San Giovanni
- Santa Croce
- Santo Spirito
The modern administrative subdivision into five wards follows the boundaries of the traditional quarters in the outer areas.
The five administrative divisions with their neighbourhoods are:
| Ward |
| Area |
| Population |
|Neighbourhoods (frazioni) within ward|
| Quartiere 1|
|11.396||67,170||5,894||San Jacopino · Il Prato · La Fortezza · Viali · Duomo–Oltrarno · Collina sud · San Gaggio|
| Quartiere 2 |
Campo di Marte
|23.406||88,588||3,784||Campo di Marte–Le Cure · Viali · La Rondinella · Settignano · Collina nord · Bellariva–Gavinana|
| Quartiere 3|
|22.312||40,907||1,833||Collina sud · Galluzzo · San Gaggio · Bellariva–Gavinana · Sorgane · Ponte a Ema|
| Quartiere 4|
|16.991||66,636||3,921||Argingrosso · Cintoia · I Bassi · Il Casone · Isolotto · La Casella · Legnaia · Le Torri · Mantignano · Monticelli · Pignone · San Lorenzo a Greve · Soffiano · San Quirico · Torcicoda · Ugnano|
| Quartiere 5|
|28.171||103,761||3,683||Castello–Le Panche · Piana di Castello · Pistoiese · Brozzi · Peretola · Il Lippi–Barsanti (Florence) · Firenze Nova · Novoli · Parco delle Cascine–Argingrosso · San Jacopino · La Fortezza · Careggi · Leopoldo–Rifredi · Collina nord · Viali|
Florence is known as the "cradle of the Renaissance" (la culla del Rinascimento) for its monuments, churches and buildings. The best-known site of Florence is the domed cathedral of the city, Santa Maria del Fiore, known as The Duomo, whose dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi. The nearby Campanile (partly designed by Giotto) and the Baptistery buildings are also highlights. The dome, 600 years after its completion, is still the largest dome built in brick and mortar in the world.
In 1982, the historic centre of Florence (Italian: centro storico di Firenze) was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The centre of the city is contained in medieval walls that were built in the 14th century to defend the city.
At the heart of the city, in Piazza della Signoria, is Bartolomeo Ammanati's Fountain of Neptune (1563–1565), which is a masterpiece of marble sculpture at the terminus of a still-functioning Roman aqueduct.
The River Arno, which cuts through the old part of the city, is as much a character in Florentine history as many of the people who lived there. Historically, the locals have had a love-hate relationship with the Arno – which alternated between nourishing the city with commerce, and destroying it by flood.
One of the bridges in particular stands out – the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), whose most striking feature is the multitude of shops built upon its edges, held up by stilts. The bridge also carries Vasari's elevated corridor linking the Uffizi to the Medici residence (Palazzo Pitti). Although the original bridge was constructed by the Etruscans, the current bridge was rebuilt in the 14th century. It is the only bridge in the city to have survived World War II intact. It is the first example in the western world of a bridge built using segmental arches, that is, arches less than a semicircle, to reduce both span-to-rise ratio and the numbers of pillars to allow lesser encumbrance in the riverbed (being in this much more successful than the Roman Alconétar Bridge)
The church of San Lorenzo contains the Medici Chapel, the mausoleum of the Medici family—the most powerful family in Florence from the 15th to the 18th century. Nearby is the Uffizi Gallery, one of the finest art museums in the world – founded on a large bequest from the last member of the Medici family.
The Uffizi is located at the corner of Piazza della Signoria, a site important for being the centre of Florence's civil life and government for centuries. The Palazzo della Signoria facing it is still home of the municipal government. The Loggia dei Lanzi provided the setting for all the public ceremonies of the republican government. Many significant episodes in the history of art and political changes were staged here, such as:
- In 1301, Dante was sent into exile from here (commemorated by a plaque on one of the walls of the Uffizi).
- On 26 April 1478, Jacopo de' Pazzi and his retainers tried to raise the city against the Medici after the plot known as The congiura dei Pazzi (The Pazzi conspiracy), murdering Giuliano di Piero de' Medici and wounding his brother Lorenzo. All the members of the plot who could be apprehended were seized by the Florentines and hanged from the windows of the palace.
- In 1497, it was the location of the Bonfire of the Vanities instigated by the Dominican friar and preacher Girolamo Savonarola
- On 23 May 1498, the same Savonarola and two followers were hanged and burnt at the stake. (A round plate in the ground marks the spot where he was hanged)
- In 1504, Michelangelo's David (now replaced by a replica, since the original was moved indoors to the Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno) was installed in front of the Palazzo della Signoria (also known as Palazzo Vecchio).
The Piazza della Signoria is the location of a number of statues by other sculptors such as Donatello, Giambologna, Ammannati and Cellini, although some have been replaced with copies to preserve the originals.
In addition to the Uffizi, Florence's museums include the Bargello, which concentrates on sculpture works by artists including Donatello, Giambologna and Michelangelo; the Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno (often simply called the Accademia), whose highlights are Michelangelo's David and his unfinished Slaves; the huge Palazzo Pitti, containing part of the Medici family's former private collection. In addition to the Medici collection, the palace's galleries contain many Renaissance works, including several by Raphael and Titian, large collections of costumes, ceremonial carriages, silver, porcelain and a gallery of modern art dating from the 18th century. Adjoining the palace are the Boboli Gardens, elaborately landscaped and with numerous sculptures.
The Santa Croce basilica, originally a Franciscan foundation, contains the monumental tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Dante (actually a cenotaph), and many other notables.
Other important basilicas and churches in Florence include Santa Maria Novella, San Lorenzo, Santo Spirito and the Orsanmichele, and the Tempio Maggiore Great Synagogue of Florence.
- Santa Maria del Fiore (Cathedral). It is the fourth largest church in Europe, its length being 153 m and its height 116 m.
- San Giovanni Baptistery. Located in front of the Florence Cathedral, it is decorated by numerous artists, notably by Lorenzo Ghiberti with the Gates of Paradise.
- Basilica of Santa Maria Novella- Located in Santa Maria Novella square (near the Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station) this contains works by Masaccio, Paolo Uccello, Filippino Lippi and Domenico Ghirlandaio. The façade was designed by Leon Battista Alberti.
- Basilica of Santa Croce. The principal Franciscan church in the city, it is situated on the Piazza di Santa Croce, about 800 metres south east of the Duomo. The site was in marshland outside the city walls. It is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile, Rossini, and Marconi, thus it is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell'Itale Glorie).
- Basilica of San Lorenzo: one of the largest churches of Florence, Italy, situated at the centre of the city's main market district, and the burial place of all the principal members of the Medici family from Cosimo il Vecchio to Cosimo III.
- Santo Spirito, in the Oltrarno quarter, facing the square with the same name. The building on the interior is an example of Renaissance architecture.
- Orsanmichele. This building was constructed on the site of the kitchen garden of the monastery of San Michele, now demolished.
- Santissima Annunziata, a Roman Catholic basilica and the mother church of the Servite order. It is located on the north-eastern side of the Piazza with the same name.
- Ognissanti: founded by the lay order of the Umiliati, this was among the first examples of Baroque architecture built in the city. Its two orders of pilasters enclose niches and windows with fantastical cornices. To the left of the façade is a campanile of 13th and 14th-century construction.
- Santa Maria del Carmine, in the Oltrarno district of Florence. It is the location of the Brancacci Chapel, housing outstanding Renaissance frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino da Panicale, later finished by Filippino Lippi.
- Santa Trinita. It is the mother church of the Vallumbrosan Order of monks, founded in 1092 by a Florentine nobleman. Nearby is the Ponte Santa Trinita over the river Arno. The church houses the Sassetti Chapel, containing Renaissance frescoes by Domenico Ghirlandaio.
- Medici Chapel in San Lorenzo. It is the resting place of most of the Medici as Grand Dukes of Tuscany. One is the Sagrestia Nuova, the "New Sacristy", designed by Michelangelo. The other is the Cappella dei Principi, the 16th and 17th-century "Chapel of the Princes", which is covered with a revetment of colored marbles inlaid with pietra dura.
- San Marco, which comprises a church and a convent. The convent, which is now a museum, was home in the 15th century to two distinguished Dominicans, the painter Fra Angelico and the preacher Girolamo Savonarola. Also housed at the convent is a collection of manuscripts in a library built by Michelozzo.
- Santa Felicita. This is a church in the downtown, probably the oldest in the city after San Lorenzo. It houses the Deposition by Pontormo
- Badia Fiorentina, the parish church of Beatrice Portinari, the love of Dante's life, and the place where he watched her at mass. Dante grew up across the street in what is now called the 'Casa di Dante', rebuilt in 1910 as a museum to Dante.
- San Gaetano, an examples of the Baroque style in Florence.
- San Miniato al Monte, standing at one of the highest points in the city.
- Florence Charterhouse, or Carthusian monastery, located in the suburb of Galluzzo. The building is a walled complex located on Monte Acuto, at the point of confluence of the Ema and Greve rivers.
- Great Synagogue of Florence, a large synagogue built between 1874 and 1882. The design integrates Islamic and Italian architectural traditions.
- Orthodox Russian church of Nativity. Located in a quarter built in the 19th and 20th centuries, it was erected in the Russian style of the 18th century.
- Santa Maria del Carmine, a church of the Carmelite Order, in the Oltrarno district. It includes the Brancacci Chapel, with Renaissance frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino da Panicale, later finished by Filippino Lippi.
Florence contains numerous museums and art galleries where some of the world's most important works of art are held. The city is one of the best preserved Renaissance centres of art and architecture in the world and has a high concentration of art, architecture and culture. In the ranking list of the 15 most visited Italian art museums, 2/3 are represented by Florentine museums.
- Uffizi. It is one of the most famous and important art galleries in the world, with a very large collection of international and Florentine art. The gallery is articulated in many halls, cataloged by schools and chronological order. Engendered by the Medici family's artistic collections through the centuries, it houses works of art by Giotto, Cimabue, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Michelangelo, Raffaello, Tiziano, Caravaggio, Bernini, Beato Angelico, Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Francisco Goya, Tintoretto, Paolo Uccello, Chardin, Piero della Francesca, Masaccio, Giorgio Vasari, Correggio, Canaletto, El Greco, Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Antonello da Messina, Mantegna, Simone Martini and many others. It has the largest collection of Botticelli's works in the world.
- Vasari Corridor, a gallery connecting the Palazzo Vecchio with the Pitti Palace passing by the Uffizi and over the Ponte Vecchio. Was built for the Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici.
- Galleria dell' Accademia housing a Michelangelo collection, including the David. It has a collection of Russian icons and works by Bronzino, Botticelli, Perugino, Ghirlandaio, Paolo Uccello, Giambologna, Pontormo, Lorenzo Monaco, Lorenzo Bartolini and others artists.
- Palazzo Vecchio, the political heart of the city for two centuries, before to become the residence of Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici. It homes in numerous halls works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, Baccio Bandinelli, Bronzino, Giambologna, Giorgio Vasari, Ammannati, Francesco Salviati, Pontormo and many florentine artists.
- Pitti Palace, housing a large art museum, with five main art galleries and eight museums:
- The Palatine Gallery, on the first floor of the piano nobile, contains a large ensemble of over 500 principally Renaissance paintings, which were once part of the Medicis' and their successors' private art collection. The gallery, which overflows into the royal apartments, contains works by Raphael, Titian, Correggio, Rubens, and Pietro da Cortona. The character of the gallery is still that of a private collection, and the works of art are displayed and hung much as they would have been in the grand rooms for which they were intended rather than following a chronological sequence, or arranged according to school of art.
- Royal Apartments, a suite of 14 rooms, formerly used by the Medici family, and lived in by their successors. The gallery was intended to hold prize-winning art works in the academy's competitions. The Palazzo Pitti was being redecorated on a grand scale at this time and the new works of art were being collected to adorn the newly decorated salons. By the mid-19th century so numerous were the Grand Ducal paintings of modern art that many were transferred to the Palazzo Croncetta, which became the first home of the newly formed "Modern Art Museum". Following the Risorgimento and the expulsion of the Grand Ducal family from the palazzo, all the Grand Ducal modern art works were brought together under one roof in the newly titled "Modern gallery of the Academy". The pictures by the Macchiaioli artists are of particular note, as this school of 19th-century Tuscan painters led by Giovanni Fattori were early pioneers and the founders of the impressionist movement. The title "gallery of modern art" to some may sound incorrect, as the art in the gallery covers the period from 1700 to early 1900. No examples of later art are included in the collection since In Italy, "modern art" refers to the period before World War II; what has followed is generally known as "contemporary art" (arte contemporanea). In Tuscany this art can be found at the Centro per l'arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci at Prato, a city about 15 km from Florence.
- Silver Museum contains a collection of silver, cameos, and works in semi-precious gemstones, many of the latter from the collection of Lorenzo de' Medici, including his collection of ancient vases, many with delicate silver gilt mounts added for display purposes in the 15th century. These rooms, formerly part of the private royal apartments, are decorated with 17th-century frescoes. The Silver Museum also contains a fine collection of German gold and silver artifacts purchased by Grand Duke Ferdinand after his return from exile in 1815, following the French occupation.
- Costume Gallery. Situated in a wing known as the "Palazzina della Meridiana", this gallery contains a collection of theatrical costumes dating from the 16th century until the present. It is also the only museum in Italy detailing the history of Italian fashions. One of the newer collections to the palazzo, it was founded in 1983 by Kristen Aschengreen Piacenti; a suite of fourteen rooms, the Meridiana apartments, were completed in 1858. In addition to theatrical costumes, the gallery displays garments worn between the 18th century and the present day. Some of the exhibits are unique to the Palazzo Pitti; these include the 16th-century funeral clothes of Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici, and Eleonora of Toledo and her son Garzia, both of whom died of malaria. Their bodies would have been displayed in state wearing their finest clothes, before being reclad in plainer attire before interment. The gallery also exhibits a collection of mid-20th century costume jewellery. The Sala Meridiana originally sponsored a functional solar meridian instrument, built into the fresco decoration by Anton Domenico Gabbiani.
- Porcelain Museum. First opened in 1973, this museum is housed in the Casino del Cavaliere in the Boboli Gardens. The porcelain is from many of the most notable European porcelain factories, with Sèvres and Meissen near Dresden being well represented. Many items in the collection were gifts to the Florentine rulers from other European sovereigns, while other works were specially commissioned by the Grand Ducal court. Of particular note are several large dinner services by the Vincennes factory, later renamed Sèvres, and a collection of small biscuit figurines.
- Carriages Museum. This ground floor museum exhibits carriages and other conveyances used by the Grand Ducal court mainly in the late 18th and 19th century. The extent of the exhibition prompted one visitor in the 19th century to wonder, "In the name of all that is extraordinary, how can they find room for all these carriages and horses". Some of the carriages are highly decorative, being adorned not only by gilt but by painted landscapes on their panels. Those used on the grandest occasions, such as the "Carrozza d'Oro" (golden carriage), are surmounted by gilt crowns, which would have indicated the rank and station of the carriage's occupants. Other carriages on view are those used by the King of the Two Sicilies, and Archbishops and other Florentine dignitaries.
- Boboli Gardens. Connected to the Belvedere fort, the garden receives every year further 800.000 visitors, and it's one of the most important Italian garden in the world. It's real open-air museum, due to the architectural and landscape's layout, and the sculptures collections, since the roman antiquity to the XIX century. Among other building we can find the historical Kaffeehaus (built in rococò style) or the Limonaia.
- Bargello. This museum houses artworks by Michelangelo, such as his Bacchus, Pitti Tondo (or Madonna and Child), Brutus and David-Apollo. Its collection includes Donatello's David and St. George Tabernacle, Vincenzo Gemito's Pescatore ("fisherboy"), Jacopo Sansovino's Bacco, Manufacturing and commerce, however, still remain highly important. Florence is also Italy's 17th richest city in terms of average workers' earnings, with the figure being €23,265 (the overall city's income is that of €6,531,204,473), coming after Mantua, yet surpassing Bolzano.
Industry, commerce and services
Florence is a major production and commercial centre in Italy, where the Florentine industrial complexes in the suburbs produce all sorts of goods, from furntiture, rubber goods, chemicals, and food. Studies by Euromonitor International have concluded that cultural and history-oriented tourism is generating significantly increased spending throughout Europe.
Florence is believed to have the greatest concentration of art (in proportion to its size) in the world. Thus, cultural tourism is particularly strong, with world-renowned museums such as the Uffizi selling over 1.6 million tickets a year. The city's convention centre facilities were restructured during the 1990s and host exhibitions, conferences, meetings, social forums, concerts and other events all year.
Florence has approximately 35,000 hotel beds and 23,000 other accommodation facilities (campsites, guesthouses, youth hostels and farmhouses), giving potential for overall stays to exceed 10 million visitor/nights a year. Visitors also include thousands of day-trippers brought in by cruise ships (to Livorno) and by road and rail. In 2007, the city ranked as the world's 59th most visited city, with over 1.729 million arrivals for the year. It has been estimated that just under one-third of tourists are Italians, the remainder comprising Americans (20%), Germans (13%), Japanese (8%), Britons (7.8%), French (5.7%) and Spaniards (5%).
Food and wine production
Food and wine have long been an important staple of the economy. Florence is the most important city in Tuscany, one of the great wine-growing regions in the world. The Chianti region is just south of the city, and its Sangiovese grapes figure prominently not only in its Chianti Classico wines but also in many of the more recently developed Supertuscan blends. Within twenty miles (32 km) to the west is the Carmignano area, also home to flavorful sangiovese-based reds. The celebrated Chianti Rufina district, geographically and historically separated from the main Chianti region, is also few miles east of Florence. More recently, the Bolgheri region (about 150 km southwest of Florence) has become celebrated for its "Super Tuscan" reds such as Sassicaia and Ornellaia.
Florence has a legendary artistic heritage. Cimabue and Giotto, the fathers of Italian painting, lived in Florence as well as Arnolfo and Andrea Pisano, renewers of architecture and sculpture; Brunelleschi, Donatello and Masaccio, forefathers of the Renaissance, Ghiberti and the Della Robbias, Filippo Lippi and Angelico; Botticelli, Paolo Uccello and the universal genius of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
Their works, together with those of many other generations of artists, are gathered in the several museums of the town: the Uffizi Gallery, the Palatina gallery with the paintings of the "Golden Ages", the Bargello with the sculptures of the Renaissance, the museum of San Marco with Fra Angelico's works, the Academy, the chapels of the Medicis Buonarroti' s house with the sculptures of Michelangelo, the following museums: Bardini, Horne, Stibbert, Romano, Corsini, The Gallery of Modern Art, the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, the museum of Silverware and the museum of Precious Stones. Great monuments are the landmarks of Florentine artistic culture: the Florence Baptistery with its mosaics; the Cathedral with its sculptures, the medieval churches with bands of frescoes; public as well as private palaces: Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Palazzo Davanzati; monasteries, cloisters, refectories; the "Certosa". In the archeological museum includes documents of Etruscan civilization. In fact the city is so rich in art that some first time visitors experience the Stendhal syndrome as they encounter its art for the first time.
Florentine architects such as Filippo Brunelleschi (1377–1466) and Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472) were among the fathers of both Renaissance and Neoclassical architecture,.
The cathedral, topped by Brunelleschi's dome, dominates the Florentine skyline. The Florentines decided to start building it – late in the 13th century, without a design for the dome. The project proposed by Brunelleschi in the 14th century was the largest ever built at the time, and the first major dome built in Europe since the two great domes of Roman times – the Pantheon in Rome, and Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The dome of Santa Maria del Fiore remains the largest brick construction of its kind in the world. In front of it is the medieval Baptistery. The two buildings incorporate in their decoration the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. In recent years, most of the important works of art from the two buildings – and from the nearby Giotto's Campanile, have been removed and replaced by copies. The originals are now housed in the Museum dell'Opera del Duomo, just to the east of the Cathedral.
Florence has large numbers of art-filled churches, instead of the Latin used for most literary works at the time.
Despite Latin being the main language of the courts and the Church, writers such as Dante Alighieri and Giovanni Boccaccio
Twin towns—Sister cities
Florence is twinned with:
- Kraków in Poland
- Sir Harold Acton, author and aesthete.
- Leone Battista Alberti, polymath.
- Dante Alighieri, poet.
- Giovanni Boccaccio, poet.
- Baldassarre Bonaiuti, 14th century chronicler
- Sandro Botticelli, painter.
- Aureliano Brandolini, agronomist and development cooperation scholar.
- Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 19th century English poets.
- Filippo Brunelleschi, architect.
- Michelangelo Buonarroti, sculptor, painter, author of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and David.
- Roberto Cavalli, fashion designer.
- Enrico Coveri, fashion designer.
- Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione. Early photographic artist, Secret agent and Courtesan.
- Leonardo da Vinci, polymath
- Giotto di Bondone, early 14th century painter, sculptor and architect.
- Donatello, sculptor.
- Oriana Fallaci, journalist and author.
- Salvatore Ferragamo, fashion designer and shoemaker.
- Frescobaldi Family, notable bankers and wine producers.
- Galileo Galilei, Italian physicist, astronomer, and philosopher.
- Lorenzo Ghiberti, sculptor.
- Guccio Gucci, founder of the Gucci label.
- Pietro Pacciani, farmer, starring of the case of the Monster of Florence.
- Robert Lowell, poet.
- Niccolò Machiavelli, poet, philosopher and political thinker, author of The Prince and The Discourses.
- Masaccio, painter.
- Medici family.
- Antonio Meucci, inventor of the telephone.
- Florence Nightingale, pioneer of modern nursing, and a statistician.
- Mike Francis (musician) born Francesco Puccioni, singer and composer
- Raphael, painter.
- Girolamo Savonarola
- Giorgio Vasari, painter, architect, and historian.
- Amerigo Vespucci, explorer and cartographer, namesake of the Americas.
- Chancellor of Florence
- European University Institute
- Fashion designers of Florence
- Florentine School
- Guilds of Florence
- Historical states of Italy
- List of Florentine churches
- Squares of Florence
- Stendhal syndrome
- University of Florence
- Cronaca fiorentina
- Niccolò Machiavelli. Florentine Histories
- Chaney, Edward(2003), A Traveller's Companion to Florence.
- Ferdinand Schevill, History of Florence: From the Founding of the City Through the Renaissance (Frederick Ungar, 1936) is the standard overall history of Florence.
- The High Renaissance in Florence – Video
- The Moscow Florentine Society
- Florence Buildings Art History