By Franco Cardini
L'autore ricerca i 'caratteri originali' della grande città d'arte attraverso un viaggio nel suo passato, dalle origini ai tempi della florentina libertas, dai fasti del Principato mediceo e asburgo-lorenese, consistent with giungere alla Firenze del XX secolo con i suoi problemi e le sue crisi, ma anche con los angeles sua carica inventiva e l. a. sua spinta al rinnovamento. Il volumea ha lo scopo di cogliere in pochi, forti tratti della città, di rivisitare il passato alla luce del presente in line with comprendere i caratteri originali.
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Additional info for A Short History of Florence
This baroque and this eighteenth century reflect the sombre decline of the house of Medici and the serene, at first unscrupulous and later soporific, Hapsburg-Lorraine government. But other discoveries, not all of them pleasant, will make the tourist more alert and the Florentine more observant, if they are prepared to cast an eye over the city without overlooking the clues as to what was once there and is there no more. Here and there, unequivocal signs of pomp, magniloquence, order - perhaps also hygiene and cleanliness, how much less in the intentions - recovered and imposed from outside, one does not know with how much respect for the history, the traditions and the truest needs of the city: as, for instance, in the nineteenth-century General Insurance building in Piazza Signoria, right opposite Palazzo Vecchio, with its frigid lines inspired by an imitation of an academic conception of the fifteenth-century; or in the vast Piazza Repubblica, which speaks the language of nineteenth-century clearances, which certainly did get rid of some frightful buildings but which also compromised the balance of history in the architectural styles of the city centre; or in girdle of boulevards linked by piazzas, echoing Promis’s Turin and Haussmann’s Paris with all the implications, political and ideological, of those decisions relived, however, more quietly, with less rhetoric and less functionality.
The decorative façades in bands of white marble from Lucca and green marble from Prato linked the aesthetic sense and taste of the Florentines with those of Pistoia and Prato and, through them, of Lucca and Pisa; but there is much in the detail and ornamentation of these churches to remind us that Florentine art bore, from the beginning, the imprint of the classical world, which was to continue and bear splendid fruit in future centuries. The mosaic facing of the baptistery interior, begun in 1228, sets a seal on the first of those great periods, so radiant with marvellous achievements, that made Florence into a city of art without parallel in the world.
From the significance of Florence in the Risorgimento - the “ballot boxes of the strong” in Santa Croce, the Arno in which they came to “dip their clothes” in that Italian language without which no plausible plan of uniting Italy could have been envisaged - to her most modern and recent political proposals, or the most “in” images of crafts and high quality fashion which still bring Florence to the attention of the world, there is no aspect of the life of the city or of the activities of her people which does not give the impression of being first and foremost a kind of paper currency which is valued because it is guaranteed by the gold reserves of the Florentine past.
A Short History of Florence by Franco Cardini