Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the Metropolitan City of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,083 inhabitants, Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time. It is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has called the Athens of the Middle Ages. A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, from 1865 to 1871 the city was the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy. The Historic Centre of Florence attracts 13 million tourists each year and it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture, the city contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art and politics. Due to Florences artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, in 2008, the city had the 17th highest average income in Italy.
Florence originated as a Roman city, and later, after a period as a flourishing trading and banking medieval commune. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, it was politically and culturally one of the most important cities in Europe, the language spoken in the city during the 14th century was, and still is, accepted as the Italian language. Starting from the late Middle Ages, Florentine money—in the form of the gold florin—financed the development of all over Europe, from Britain to Bruges, to Lyon. Florentine bankers financed the English kings during the Hundred Years War and they similarly financed the papacy, including the construction of their provisional capital of Avignon and, after their return to Rome, the reconstruction and Renaissance embellishment of Rome. Florence was home to the Medici, one of European historys 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 in the early 16th century, Leo X, catherine de Medici married king Henry II of France and, after his death in 1559, reigned as regent in France.
Marie de Medici married Henry IV of France and gave birth to the future king Louis XIII, the Medici reigned as Grand Dukes of Tuscany, starting with Cosimo I de Medici in 1569 and ending with the death of Gian Gastone de Medici in 1737. The Etruscans initially formed in 200 BC the small settlement of Fiesole and 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 along the Via Cassia, the route between Rome and the north, and within the fertile valley of the Arno, the settlement quickly became an important commercial centre. 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 again and commerce prospered
Frederick of Antioch
Frederick of Antioch, illegitimate son of the Emperor Frederick II and a south Italian noblewoman, ruled Tuscany from 1246 to 1250. He took part in the wars of the Guelphs and Ghibellines in northern Italy, Frederick was the illegitimate son of the Emperor Frederick II and a certain Matilda of Antioch, daughter of Robert of Antioch. The claim that he was a son of Plaisance of Antioch, daughter of the reigning Prince Bohemond V, is unfounded, like most of his fathers illegitimate children, Frederick was probably born during the period when his father was unmarried. At least one illegitimate half-brother of Fredericks shared his name, Frederick of Pettorano, between 1236 and 1245, Frederick married Margherita Conti di Poli. As their eldest son, was married to Beatrice Lancia in 1258, it is probable that he was born around 1240, Margherita was the daughter of a Roman nobleman, Giovanni Conti, lord of Poli and at various times a senator of Rome. Besides Poli, he held allodial and feudal land at Anticoli Corrado, Camerata Nuova, Guadagnolo and Saracinesco.
Giovanni was among Frederick IIs followers in Rome in 1229–30, and was rewarded with the county of Albe, through his marriage Frederick came to possess important castles and rights along the Via Valeria, an ancient route connecting the Kingdom of Sicily and the Papal States. Although Frederick has been ascribed up to eight children, only two, perhaps three, can be identified from primary documents and his son, was alive as late as 1301. His daughter Philippa, born around 1242, married Manfredi Maletta and she was imprisoned by Charles of Anjou and died in prison in 1273. Maria, wife of Barnabò Malaspina, may have been his daughter, as he did with his other illegitimate offspring, the emperor employed Frederick in various administrative and military functions from a young age. Fredericks ambit was central Italy, and he was appointed vicar general in the March of Ancona in late 1244 or early 1245. After a brief stint at Pontenure with the army of his half-brother Enzo, thereafter until the end of 1250 his vicariate was limited to Tuscany and excluded the Papal territory, which was placed under the vicar Galvano Lancia, father-in-law of Fredericks son Conrad.
Fredericks rule in Tuscany was heavy-handed, but effective, in Florence, the chief city of Tuscany, internal conflict between the Guelph and Ghibelline parties allowed the emperor to install Frederick as imperial podestà there. His appointment was understood by Vita da Cortona, the biographer of Florentine holy woman Umiliana de Cerchi, umilian herself died shortly after Fredericks arrival in the city. While he was away on his frequent military campaigns, Frederick delegated his podesteria to vicars, during his government of Tuscany, Frederick was constantly on the move. He can be shown to have visited staunchly loyal Siena, as well as the traditionally Ghibelline towns of Arezzo, Borgo San Genesio, Poggibonsi, San Miniato and San Quirico dOrcia. In March 1247 Frederick met his father in Siena while the latter was on his way to Lyon to meet Pope Innocent IV, a general uprising diverted the emperor, and Frederick went north in August to join the siege of Parma. This was the time during his vicariate that he ventured north of the Apennines
Piero di Cosimo de' Medici
Piero di Cosimo de Medici, was the de facto ruler of Florence from 1464 to 1469, during the Italian Renaissance. Piero was the son of Cosimo de Medici the Elder and Contessina de Bardi, during his fathers life he did not play an extensive role due to his perpetual poor health, the source of his nickname. His brother Giovanni was named as Cosimos executor, but predeceased his father, in 1461, Piero was the last Medici elected to the office of Gonfaloniere. His gout often kept him confined to bed and this meant that his bedroom effectively became his office where he would conduct political meetings, and led to the Medici palace becoming the seat of government. Upon taking over the family Medici bank from his father, Piero had a financial overview prepared, the results led him to call up a number of long-standing loans, many to various Medici supporters, which his father had let stand. This immediately drove a number of the merchants involved into bankruptcy. Although not as brilliant a banker as his father, he was able to keep things running smoothly during his tenure, the coup failed, as did an attempted repeat backed by Venice, using troops commanded by Bartolomeo Colleoni.
In 1467 Piero had to face the war against the Republic of Venice, prompted by the Florentine support given to Galeazzo Maria Sforza, the Venetian army under Colleoni was defeated at the Battle of Molinella by the league of Florence, Papal States and Milan. He continued the tradition of artistic patronage, including Gozzolis fresco Procession of the Magi in Palazzo Medici Riccardi. His taste was more eclectic than that of his father, extending to Dutch and he continued to collect rare books, adding many to the Medici collections. He died in 1469, due to gout and lung disease, the tomb, created by Andrea del Verrocchio, was commissioned by his sons Lorenzo and Giuliano. On 3 Jun 1444 Piero married Lucrezia Tornabuoni and their children include Lorenzo the Magnificent and Giuliano de Medici. All his family is portrayed in the famous painting by Botticelli, called Madonna del Magnificat. Lucrezia Tornabuoni De Medici and the Medici Family in the Fifteenth Century, new York, Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
The Medici Women and Power in Renaissance Florence
Hugh of Italy
Hugh of Arles was King of Italy from 924 until his death in 947. During his reign, he empowered his relatives at the expense of the aristocracy, Hugh of Arles was born in 880/1, the eldest surviving son of Theobald, Count of Arles, and Bertha of Lotharingia. By inheritance, he was Count of Arles and Vienne, which made him one of the most important and influential nobles in the Kingdom of Provence. After the Emperor Louis III, who was King of Provence, was captured, blinded, by 911, most of the royal prerogatives were exercised by Hugh and Louis ceded him the titles dux of Provence and marchio of the Viennois. He moved the capital to his familys seat of Arles and in 912 married Willa. Hugh would attempt to take Burgundy from Rudolphs son. At an unknown date, a Provençal army led by Hugh, his brother Boso, and Hugh Taillefer invaded Lombardy with the support of Hughs mother. On the basis of the account of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, this event has been dated to as late as 923–924, about 922, a sizable faction of Italian nobles revolted against the by-then Emperor Berengar and elected Rudolph II of Burgundy King of Italy.
This started a war, which resulted in Berengars death in 924. Rather than accept Rudolph, Berengars partisans now elected Hugh as king, Rudolph was ejected from Italy in 926 and Hugh crossed the Alps to be crowned. In his absence, Louis of Provence transferred his county of Vienne to Charles-Constantine, Louis died on 5 June 928 and Hugh returned to Provence to sort out a succession. He took control of the right to grant fiefs in Provence, in September 928, Hugh met with Rudolph of France and Herbert II of Vermandois in Burgundy. Hugh granted Herberts son Odo Vienne in opposition to Charles Constantine and he was still in conflict with Rudolph of Burgundy and hoped to ally with the King of France against the Burgundian monarch. By 930, Charles was in control of Vienne and by 931. In light of these reverses in his policy, Hugh turned his attention towards securing his rule in Italy. He induced the Italian nobility to recognise his son Lothair as their next king, however, had other reasons for deposing Lambert, who presented an obstacle to his second marriage to Marozia.
Lamberts supporters called in Rudolph of Burgundy, whom Hugh bribed off with the gift of the Viennois and Lyonnais, in 933, Rudolph relinquished all his rights to Italy. In 936, Hugh replaced Boso of Tuscany with his own son Humbert and he granted Octavion in the Viennois to Hugh Taillefer and patched up his relations with Charles Constantine in a final effort to save influence in Provence
House of Medici
The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside, gradually rising until they were able to fund the Medici Bank. The bank was the largest in Europe during the 15th century, the Medici produced three Popes of the Catholic Church—Pope Leo X, Pope Clement VII, and Pope Leo XI, two regent queens of France—Catherine de Medici and Marie de Medici. In 1531, the family became hereditary Dukes of Florence, in 1569, the duchy was elevated to a grand duchy after territorial expansion. They ruled the Grand Duchy of Tuscany from its inception until 1737, the grand duchy witnessed degrees of economic growth under the earlier grand dukes, but by the time of Cosimo III de Medici, Tuscany was fiscally bankrupt. Their wealth and influence initially derived from the textile trade guided by the guild of the Arte della Lana. They, along with families of Italy—such as the Visconti and Sforza of Milan, the Este of Ferrara. The Medici Bank was one of the most prosperous and most respected institutions in Europe, there are some estimates that the Medici family were the wealthiest family in Europe for a time.
From this base, they acquired political power initially in Florence and in wider Italy, a notable contribution to the profession of accounting was the improvement of the general ledger system through the development of the double-entry bookkeeping system for tracking credits and debits. The Medici family were among the earliest businesses to use the system, the Medici family came from the agricultural Mugello region, north of Florence, being mentioned for the first time in a document of 1230. The origin of the name is uncertain, Medici is the plural of medico, written del medico or delmedigo, medical doctor. It has been suggested that the derived from one Medico di Potrone, a castellan of Potrone in the late 11th century. The dynasty began with the founding of the Medici Bank, until the late 14th century, prior to the Medici, the leading family of Florence was the House of Albizzi. In 1293 the Ordinances of Justice were enacted, which became the constitution of the republic of Florence throughout the Italian Renaissance.
The citys numerous luxurious palazzi were becoming surrounded by townhouses, built by the ever prospering merchant class. In 1298, one of the leading banking families of Europe, the main challengers to the Albizzi family were the Medicis, first under Giovanni de Medici, under his son Cosimo di Giovanni de Medici and great-grandson, Lorenzo de Medici. The Medici controlled the Medici bank—then Europes largest bank—and an array of other enterprises in Florence, in 1433, the Albizzi managed to have Cosimo exiled. The next year, however, a pro-Medici Signoria was elected, the Medici became the citys leading family, a position they would hold for the next three centuries. Cosimo and Lorenzo rarely held official posts but were the unquestioned leaders, some examples of these families include the Bardi, Salviati and the Tornabuoni
Republic of Florence
The Republic of Florence, known as the Florentine Republic, was a medieval and early modern state that was centered on the Italian city of Florence in Tuscany. The republic originated in 1115, when the Florentine people rebelled against the Margraviate of Tuscany upon the death of Matilda, the Florentines formed a commune in her successors place. The republic was ruled by a council, known as the signoria, the signoria was chosen by the gonfaloniere, who was elected every two months by Florentine guild members. The republic had a history of coups and counter-coups against various factions. The Medici faction gained governance of the city in 1434, upon Cosimo de Medicis counter-coup against the faction that had sent him into exile the previous year, the Medici kept control of Florence until 1494. Giovanni de Medici re-conquered the republic in 1512, Florence repudiated Medici authority for a second time in 1527, during the War of the League of Cognac. The Medici re-assumed their rule in 1531, after an 11-month siege of the city, the republican government was disestablished in 1532, when Pope Clement VII appointed Alessandro de Medici Duke of the Florentine Republic, making the republic a hereditary monarchy.
The city of Florence was established in 59 B. C. by Julius Caesar, the city had been part of the Marquisate of Tuscany before the death of Margravine Matilda in 1115. The city did not submit readily to her successor, the first official mention of the republic was in 1138 when several cities around Tuscany formed a league against Henry X of Bavaria. The country was part of the Holy Roman Empire. Florence prospered in the 12th century, trading extensively with foreign countries and this, in turn, provided a platform for demographic growth of the city. The growth of Florences population mirrored the rate of construction, many churches and this prosperity was shattered when Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa invaded the Italian peninsula in 1185. The Margraves of Tuscany re-acquired Florence and its townlands, the Florentines re-asserted their independence when Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI died in 1197. Florences population continued to grow into the 13th century, reaching 30,000 inhabitants, as has been said, the extra inhabitants supported the citys trade and vice versa.
Several new bridges and churches were built, most prominently the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the buildings from the era serve as Florences best example of Gothic Architecture. Politically, Florence was barely able to maintain peace between factions, the precarious peace that existed at the beginning of the century was destroyed in 1216 when two factions known as the Guelphs and the Ghibellines began to war. The Ghibellines were the rulers of Florence. The Ghibellines, who under Frederick of Antioch had ruled the city since 1244, were deposed in 1250 by the Guelphs, the Guelphs led Florence to prosper further
Republic of Siena
The Republic of Siena was a historic state consisting of the city of Siena and its surrounding territory in Tuscany, central Italy. It existed for four hundred years, from 1125 to 1555. In the Italian War of 1551–59 the republic was defeated by the rival Duchy of Florence in alliance with the Spanish crown, after 18 months of resistance, Republic of Siena surrendered to the Spanish Empire on 21 April 1555, marking the end of the republic. The oldest aristocratic families in Siena date their line to the Lombards surrender in 774 to Charlemagne, Siena prospered as a city-state, becoming a major centre of money lending and an important player in the wool trade. It was governed at first directly by its bishop, but episcopal power declined during the 12th century, by 1179, it had a written constitution. In 1286 the Nova government was established to rule Siena, the Nova was backed by the Noveschi, a political party formed by the noble families that sat on the council. Eventually, the Noveschi Party grew to not only include members of the Nova council.
Under the guide of the Nova and the Noveschi, Siena grew in economic and militaristic dominance. In the 13th century, Siena was predominantly Ghibelline, in opposition to Florences Guelph position, on 4 September 1260 the Sienese Ghibellines, supported by the forces of King Manfred of Sicily, defeated the Florentine Guelphs in the Battle of Montaperti. Before the battle, the Sienese army of around 20,000 faced a much larger Florentine army of around 33,000, prior to the battle, the entire city was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The man given command of Siena for the duration of the war, Bonaguida Lucari, walked barefoot and bareheaded, leading a procession composed of all the citys residents, he was met by all the clergy. Lucari and the bishop embraced to show the unity of church and state, Lucari formally gave the city, legend has it that a thick white cloud descended on the battlefield, giving the Sienese cover and aiding their attack. Almost half the Florentine army were killed as a result, so crushing was the defeat that even today if the two cities meet in any sporting event, the Sienese supporters are likely to exhort their Florentine counterparts to Remember Montaperti.
Siena was devastated by the Black Death of 1348, and suffered from ill-fated financial enterprises. In 1355, with the arrival of Charles IV of Luxembourg in the city and they established a Dodici, assisted by a council with a popular majority. Only five years later, the House of Visconti was expelled in 1404, and a new government of Ten Priors was established, this time in alliance with Florence against King Ladislaus of Naples. In 1472 the Siena magistrates founded a mount of piety, the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena - which would survive into the 21st Century, the Noveschi returned to the city under Pandolfo Petrucci in 1487. Though a tyrant, Pandolfo brought Siena back to prosperity, favoring arts and sciences, Pandolfo was succeeded by his son Borghese Petrucci
Republic of Lucca
The Republic of Lucca was a historic state of Italy, which lasted from 1160 to 1805 on the central Italian peninsula. Within the Imperial Kingdom of Italy, the city of Lucca had been the residence of the Margraves of Tuscany, a certain autonomy was granted by a 1084 diploma issued by Emperor Henry IV, while on his Italian campaign during the Investiture Controversy with Pope Gregory VII. After the death of Margravine Matilda of Tuscany in 1115, the city began to constitute itself an independent commune, for almost 500 years, Lucca remained as an independent republic. There were many minor provinces in the region between southern Liguria and northern Tuscany dominated by the Malaspina family, Tuscany in this time was a part of feudal Europe. The Divine Comedy by Dante includes many references to the feudal families who had huge jurisdictions with administrative. Dante spent some of his exile in Lucca, in 1273 and again in 1277 Lucca was ruled by a Guelph capitano del popolo named Luchetto Gattilusio.
In 1314, internal discord allowed Uguccione della Faggiuola of Pisa to make himself lord of Lucca, Castruccio Castracani The Lucchesi expelled him two years later, and handed over the city to another condottiere Castruccio Castracani, under whose rule it became a leading state in central Italy. Lucca rivalled Florence until Castracanis death in 1328, on 22 and 23 September 1325, in the battle of Altopascio, Castracani defeated Florences Guelphs. For this he was nominated by Louis IV the Bavarian to become duke of Lucca, Castracanis tomb is in San Francesco in Lucca. His biography, by Machiavelli, is the authors third book on political rule. Occupied by the troops of Louis of Bavaria, the city was sold to a rich Genoese, Gherardino Spinola, pawned to the Rossi of Parma, and by them it was ceded to Martino della Scala of Verona. Then sold to the Florentines, surrendered to the Pisans, and liberated by the emperor Charles IV. In 1408, Lucca hosted the convocation intended to end the schism in the papacy, Lucca managed, at first as a democracy, and after 1628 as an oligarchy, to maintain its independence — alongside Venice and Genoa.
It painted the word Libertas on its banners, until the French Revolution in 1789, Lucca was the third largest Italian city state with a republican constitution to remain independent over the centuries, as larger Venice and Genoa did. French democracy The independent course of the Republic changed in February 1799, after the Second Coalition invasion, French Jacobins created a centralized republic, the State of Lucca, with a democratic constitution. The constitution granted the government to an Executive Directory, with a legislature composed of the Council of Juniors. The democracy did not last long, a new constitution for the State of Lucca was published in 1801, restoring the office of Consul of Justice as the president of the Executive branch, with a parliament called the Great Council. In 1805, the governance of Lucca was taken over by Napoleon and he put his favored sister Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi in place to rule, his only female sibling to gain political power
Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Cosimo I de Medici was the second Duke of Florence from 1537 until 1569, when he became the first Grand Duke of Tuscany. Cosimo was born in Florence, on 12 June 1519, the son of the famous condottiere Giovanni dalle Bande Nere from Forlì and he was the grandson of Caterina Sforza, the Countess of Forlì and Lady of Imola. Cosimo came to power at 17, when the 26-year-old Duke, Alessandro de Medici, was assassinated in 1537, Cosimo was from a different branch of the family, and so far had lived in Mugello, and was almost unknown in Florence. However, many of the men in the city favoured him. Several hoped to rule through him, thereby enriching themselves at the states expense, however, as Benedetto Varchi famously put it The innkeepers reckoning was different from the gluttons. Cosimo proved strong-willed and ambitious, and soon rejected the clause he had signed, when the Florentine exiles heard of the death of Alessandro, they marshalled their forces with support from France and from disgruntled neighbors of Florence.
During this time, Cosimo had a daughter, Bia. Toward the end of July 1537, the exiles marched into Tuscany under the leadership of Bernardo Salviati and Piero Strozzi. When Cosimo heard of their approach, he sent his best troops under Alessandro Vitelli to engage the enemy, which they did at Montemurlo, after defeating the exiles army, Vitelli stormed the fortress, where Strozzi and a few of his companions had retreated to safety. It fell after only a few hours, and Cosimo celebrated his first victory, the prominent prisoners were subsequently beheaded on the Piazza or in the Bargello. Filippo Strozzis body was found with a sword next to it and a note quoting Virgil. In June 1537 Cosimo had sent Bernardo Antonio de Medici to Charles V to gain his recognition as head of the Florentine state and that recognition came in June 1537, in exchange for help against France in the course of the Italian Wars. With this move Cosimo firmly restored the power of the Medici, the help granted to Charles V allowed him to free Tuscany from the Imperial garrisons, and to increase as much as possible its independence from the overwhelming Spanish influence in Italy.
With the support of the Emperor, he defeated the Sienese at the Battle of Marciano, despite the inhabitants desperate resistance, on 17 April 1555, after a 15-month siege, the city fell, its population diminished from forty thousand to eight thousand. In 1559 Montalcino, the last redoubt of Sienese independence, was annexed to Cosimos territories, in 1569, Pope Pius V elevated him to the rank of Grand Duke of Tuscany. In the last 10 years of his reign, struck by the death of two of his sons by malaria, Cosimo gave up the rule to his son and successor Francesco I de Medici. He retreated to live in his villa, Villa di Castello, Cosimo was an authoritarian ruler and secured his position by employing a guard of Swiss mercenaries. In 1548 he managed to have his relative Lorenzino, the last Medici claimant to Florence, Cosimo was an active builder of military structures, in an attempt to save his state from the frequent passage of foreign armies
Giuliano de' Medici
Giuliano de Medici was the second son of Piero de Medici and Lucrezia Tornabuoni. As co-ruler of Florence, with his brother Lorenzo the Magnificent, he complemented his brothers image as the patron of the arts with his own image as the handsome, golden boy. As the opening stroke of the Pazzi Conspiracy, he was assassinated on Sunday,26 April 1478 in the Duomo of Florence, Santa Maria del Fiore, by Francesco de Pazzi and he was killed by a sword wound to the head and was stabbed 19 times. Giulio di Giuliano de Medici, Giulianos illegitimate son by his mistress Fioretta Gorini and he had been promised in marriage to Semiramade Appiani Aragona, daughter of Iacopo IV Appiani, the Lord of Piombino but died before their wedding. Guiliano de Medici is portrayed by Tom Bateman in Starzs original series Da Vincis Demons and he has an affair with Vanessa, who becomes pregnant with his child. He is murdered in the season 1 finale, angelo Poliziano wrote two works which include Giuliano de Medici as a major character.
Stanze per la giostra di Giuliano was written to commemorate a joust that Giuliano won in 1475 and it is mostly fictionalized and involves Giulianos love for Simonetta Vespucci. It was left unfinished, for both of his protagonists died, the other work is Coniurationis Commentarium, which was written in 1478 to commemorate Giulianos murder. It explains the people involved in the plot and the events of the day of his assassination, house of Medici Medici Chapel Media related to Giuliano de Medici at Wikimedia Commons
Arezzo is a city and comune in Italy, capital of the province of the same name, located in Tuscany. Arezzo is about 80 kilometres southeast of Florence, at an elevation of 296 metres above sea level, in 2013 the population was about 99,000. Described by Livy as one of the Capitae Etruriae, Arezzo is believed to have one of the twelve most important Etruscan cities—the so-called Dodecapolis. Etruscan remains establish that the acropolis of San Cornelio, a hill next to that of San Donatus, was occupied and fortified in the Etruscan period. Increasing trade connections with Greece brought some elite goods to the Etruscan nobles of Arezzo, conquered by the Romans in 311 BC, Arretium became a military station on the via Cassia, the road to expansion by republican Rome into the basin of the Po. Arretium sided with Marius in the Roman Civil War, and the victorious Sulla planted a colony of his veterans in the half-demolished city, as Arretium Fidens. The old Etruscan aristocracy was not extinguished, Gaius Cilnius Maecenas, around 26-261 AD the town council of Arezzo dedicated an inscription to its patron L.
Petronius Taurus Volusianus. See that article for discussion of the possible significance of Volusianuss association with the city. The commune of Arezzo threw off the control of its bishop in 1098 and was an independent city-state until 1384, generally Ghibelline in tendency, it opposed Guelph Florence. In 1252 the city founded its university, the Studium, during this period Piero della Francesca worked in the church of San Francesco di Arezzo producing the splendid frescoes, recently restored, which are Arezzos most famous works. Afterwards the city began an economical and cultural decay, which ensured that its medieval centre was preserved. In the 18th century the neighbouring marshes of the Val di Chiana, south of Arezzo, were drained, in 1860 Arezzo became part of the Kingdom of Italy. The Commonwealth War Graves Commissions Arezzo War Cemetery, where 1,266 men are buried, is located to the North West of the city, Pope Benedict XVI visited Arezzo and two other Italian municipalities on Sunday, May 13,2012.
Arezzo is set on a hill rising from the floodplain of the River Arno. In the upper part of the town are the cathedral, the town hall, the upper part of the town maintains its medieval appearance despite the addition of structures. Notable earthquakes are still a rare phenomenon in the province. Under the Köppen climate classification Arezzo is either a humid climate or an oceanic climate. It has uncharacteristically hot summer days for a climate, with the lows moderating the average temps
It is a typical Italian medieval city, and it attracts many tourists, especially in the summer. From the 5th century the city was a bishopric, and during the Lombardic kingdom it was a city and had several privileges. In 1254 the taking of Ghibelline Pistoia by Guelph Florence, was among the origins of the division of the Florentine Guelphs into Black and White factions. Pistoia remained a Florentine holding except for a period in the 14th century, when Castruccio Castracani captured it for Lucca. During the 14th century Ormanno Tedici was one of the Lords of the city, dante mentioned in his Divina Commedia the free town of Pistoia as the home town of Vanni Fucci, who is encountered in Inferno tangled up in a knot of snakes while cursing God. In 1786 a famous Jansenist episcopal synod was convened in Pistoia, according to one theory, Pistoia lent its name to the pistol, which started to be manufactured in Pistoia during the 16th century. But today, it is notable for the extensive plant nurseries spreading around it.
Consequently, Pistoia is famous for its markets, as is the nearby Pescia. Although not visited as much as cities in Tuscany, mostly due to the citys industrial environs, Pistoia presents a well-preserved. The original Cathedral of San Zeno burned down in 1108, but was rebuilt during the 12th century, the façade has a prominent Romanesque style, while the interior received heavy Baroque additions which were removed during the 1960s. Its outstanding feature is the Altar of St James, an exemplar of the silversmiths craft begun in 1287 and its various sections contain 628 figures, the total weighing nearly a ton. The Romanesque belfry, standing at some 67 metres, was erected over an ancient Lombard tower, in the square is the 14th-century Baptistry, in Gothic style, with white and green striped marble revetment characteristic of the Tuscan Gothic. The Palazzo dei Vescovi, is characterized by a Gothic loggiato on the first floor and it is known from 1091, initially as a fortified noble residence.
In the 12th century it received a more decorated appearance, with mullioned windows and frescoes, in the 14th century, the Chapel of St. Nicholas was decorated with stories of the namesake saint and other martyrs. The Tower of Catilina is from the High Middle Ages, basilica of Our Lady of Humility, finished by Giorgio Vasari with a 59-metre high cupola. The original project was by Giuliano da Sangallo, but works were begun in 1495 by Ventura Vitoni, the dome was commissioned by Cosimo I de Medici to Vasari, the lantern completed in 1568 and the church consecrated in 1582. In the apse is a painting by Bernardino del Signoraccio, santissima Annunziata, baroque church famous for its Chiostro dei Morti. Damaged during World War II bombardments, it is now used as an exhibition center, San Giovanni Battista al Tempio, owned for a while by the Knights Templar and by the Hospitaller Knights