Car rental with driver in Florence Tuscany and Italy
FLORENCE - PIAZZA DELLA SIGNORIA
( the Signoria Square )
A bit of informations
This square is still considered the political center of the city. On the left you’ll find the Equestrian Monument of Cosimo 1 (1594) by the Flemish artist Giarnbologna; there’s also a marble fountain (1575) by B. Ammannati portraying Neptune (also called “il Biancone”) on a chariot drawn by sea horses with bronze satyrs and nymphs. A round granite plaque, located in front of the fountain, commemorates the site wehere the preacher Savonarola was burned at the stake in 1498. On the steps leading to Palazzo Vecchio you can admire, from left to right: the Marzocco, or a lion (in fact, a few real ones were kept at the back of the palace!). These animals were also one of the city’s symbols. The original statue (1458) is by Donatello and can be found at the Bargello Museum. Next you’ll find a recent bronze copy of Judith and Holofernes (1460), also by Donatello (the original is kept in the Fleur - de - Lis Hall lnside the palazzo). There’s also a marble copy of Miechelangelo’s David (the original is on display at the Accademia Gallery). And finally, there’s Hercules and Cacus by B. Bandineffi (1534).
Piazza della Signoria - Palazzo Vecchio - The Florentine Government
FROM ORIGINS TO THE MEDICI
Florence has revealed very littie of its distant past and very few reminders of its early history are visible today. The Italiots are said to have settled at this point, where the Arno was particularly easy to cross, between the 1OC and 8C BC. They were soon outnumbered by the Etruscans, who preferred the hilltop of Fiesole. Not until 59 BC did Julius Caesar found a colony on the river bank to control the Arno crossing and the passage of traffic along the Via Flaminia, the road which ran from Rome to northern Italy and then into Gaul. The colony was set up in the spring; its name, Florentia, was reminiscent of floral games ( Iudi florales) or of fields of flowers (arva florentia). The old city center has the grid layout of a Roman castrum. Via Roma and Via Calimala follow the line of the main Roman north-south street (cardo); Via del Corso and Via Strozzi follow the line of the main east-west Street (decumanus maximus); Piazza della Repubblica was created at the end of the 19C on the site of the Roman forum; Via de’ Bentaccordi and Via Torti near Santa Croce still trace the outline of the Roman amphitheatre.
THE RISE OF A CITY
Florence rose to a position of power in Tuscany fairly late in the city’s history. For many years Fiesole and later Lucca were predominant. Early in the 11 C Count Ugo, Marquess of Tuscany, transferred his residence from Lucca to Florence where he built an abbey. In the second half of the century, power was in the hands of a particuiarly strong-willed woman, Countess Matilda, who supported Pope Gregory VII in his struggie against the HoIy Roman Emperor on the question of lnvestitures. It was in one of her strongholds, in Canossa, that the two protagonists held a meeting at which the Emperor was humiliated. Dunng this period Florence began to acquire powerand influence. When Matilda died in 1115 the city had already gained a degree of independence which was to increase during the 12C. It was at this time that the two Romanesque masterpieces, the Church of San Miniato al Monte and the Baptistery were built. It was also at this time (1125) that Florence annihilated its rival, Fiesole. A more important contemporary event was the addition of a third class of citizen the wealthy merchants who provided the city with an extraordinary level of prosperity which endured for severai centuries to the two existing social classes which had previousiy governed the affairs ofthe city the aristocracy, who supported the emperor, and the clergy.