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Florence Guide Italy

History and culture


History and culture

In our tourists’ guide to Florence there had to be a section dedicated to the history of this wonderful city. Let’s discover it together;

Florence’s origins date back to the Etruscan era, when Fiesole, an important center in Etruria, dominated the valley. Before conquering Fiesole in the first century B.C., the Romans set up camp by the River Arno in a place that then became Florentia, "destined to flower". Florence survived the dark centuries of the Middle Ages and then became an important city, until it became a Municipal Borough in 1115.
The dispute between the Guelfs, who were faithful to the Pope, and the Ghibellines, loyal to the Emperor Frederick II, that resulted in the Guelfs being exiled from the city, was extremely interesting. When the Emperor died, however, the Guelfs took the upper hand once more and Florence enjoyed a period of prosperity. Great importance was given to the Corporazione delle Arti and the architectural beauties, which make Florence such a unique city, began to be built.
Art & Culture were in great ferment and the people’s desire to educate themselves gave rise to the first work in the vernacular language, in the poetic style of "Dolce stil novo", which then brought about the works of Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio and finally, a century later, the “Accademia della Crusca”. It was Boccaccio who documented the plague of Florence, a tragedy that started off the people’s dissatisfaction, which culminated in the “tumulto dei Ciompi” riots in 1378.

After a short period in which the people ruled the city, the Medici dynasty then took over, first with Cosimo and then with Lorenzo il Magnifico, who brought the Humanist Age to Florence, together with the wonderful architecture by Brunelleschi. After Lorenzo il Magnifico’s death (1492), and in later centuries, the city oscillated between Republican agitation and Medici revenge, while geniuses such as Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci became famous names in art and literature.

In 1865, Florence was chosen to be the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, and remained capital until 1871. In later years and until the beginning of the twentieth century, Florence was famous for its literary happenings, that produced works such as Pinocchio and which brought writers such as Papini, Palazzeschi, Pratolini to the fore, who were all members of the historical Literary Caffè group the "Giubbe Rosse".

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