Travel and Culture in Tuscany
Firenze was founded in 59 B.C. by the Romans and its name makes reference to the season of Ludi Floreales, in honour of the goddess Flora. The town was built on a square plant and, in ancient times, it had a forum, the thermal baths and the Capitol.
In 570 it was occupied by the Longobards, that guaranteed stability and independence to the town, but only with the supremacy of the Carolingians the two counties Firenze and Fiesole were unified
In 570 it was occupied by the Longobards, that guaranteed stability and independence to the town, but only with the supremacy of the Carolingians the two counties Firenze and Fiesole were unified and gave origin to the greatest county ever existed in Tuscany.
After the end of the Carolingian dinasty, the town had a difficult period and, only about 1000, it started again its expansion and continued to gain more and more independence from the empire, aiming to become rich and powerful.
At that time Firenze was enriched by walls and monuments in order to become, in 1183, a free commune, despite the division of the citizens into two factions: on one side the Guelphs allied with the Pope and, on the other side, the Ghibellines, allied with the emperor. So the two factions alternated in the town power, until the definite dominion of the Guelphs in 1267.
In 1300 Firenze was a flourishing town and was enriched by important churches such as
St Croce, St Maria del Fiore and St Maria Novella and even by Palazzo dei Priori (the priors’ palace) and the Casa del Popolo (the people’s house), later called Palazzo Vecchio. Then Piazza del Popolo became a building masterpiece, later called Piazza della Signoria.
In 1400 Firenze continued its explosive blooming, that made appear the powerful Medici family who, after Cosimo I, would rule until the first half of the eighteenth century, except a short period.
Under Lorenzo de Medici, called the Magnifico (the Magnificent), who was an intellectual and a patron of arts, Firenze was called “the second Athens” and thanks to his grand personality, the Renaissance could definetely flourish.
After the conclusion of the Renaissance, notwithstanding the changed political conditions because of Lorenzo’s death, the sixteenth century was just as positive and rich as the period before: Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Vasari, Buontalenti and others created splendid works of art and architecture, as the Uffizi open arcade and the Dome.
From 1737 on the Lorena family took the place of the Medicis and continued to rule with liberalism and temperance. After the unity of Italy Firenze became the capital of the new State only for a short time. During the second world war the old town centre underwent serious damages and some important buildings were lost for ever but, despite of this, Firenze has succeeded in maintaining its charme, untouched until today.