The Uffizi Gallery is a prominent art museum located adjacent to the Piazza della Signoria in the Historic Centre of Florence in the region of Tuscany, Italy. One of the most important Italian museums and the most visited, it is one of the largest and best known in the world and holds a collection of priceless works from the period of the Italian Renaissance. After the ruling house of Medici died out, their art collections were gifted to the city of Florence under the famous Patto di famiglia negotiated by Anna Maria Luisa, the last Medici heiress; the Uffizi is one of the first modern museums. The gallery had been open to visitors by request since the sixteenth century, in 1765 it was opened to the public, formally becoming a museum in 1865. Today, the Uffizi is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Florence and one of the most visited art museums in the world; the building of Uffizi complex was begun by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de' Medici so as to accommodate the offices of the Florentine magistrates, hence the name uffizi, "offices".
The construction was continued by Alfonso Parigi and Bernardo Buontalenti. The top floor was made into a gallery for the family and their guests and included their collection of Roman sculptures; the cortile is so long and open to the Arno at its far end through a Doric screen that articulates the space without blocking it, that architectural historians treat it as the first regularized streetscape of Europe. Vasari, a painter and architect as well, emphasised its perspective length by adorning it with the matching facades' continuous roof cornices, unbroken cornices between storeys, as well as the three continuous steps on which the palace-fronts stand; the niches in the piers that alternate with columns of the Loggiato filled with sculptures of famous artists in the 19th century. The Uffizi brought together under one roof the administrative offices and the Archivio di Stato, the state archive; the project was intended to display prime art works of the Medici collections on the piano nobile.
He commissioned the architect Buontalenti to design the Tribuna degli Uffizi that would display a series of masterpieces in one room, including jewels. The octagonal room was completed in 1584. Over the years, more sections of the palace were recruited to exhibit paintings and sculpture collected or commissioned by the Medici. For many years, 45 to 50 rooms were used to display paintings from the 13th to 18th century; because of its huge collection, some of the Uffizi's works have in the past been transferred to other museums in Florence—for example, some famous statues to the Bargello. A project was finished in 2006 to expand the museum's exhibition space some 6,000 metres2 to 13,000 metres2, allowing public viewing of many artworks, in storage; the Nuovi Uffizi renovation project which started in 1989 was progressing well in 2015 to 2017. It was intended to modernize all of more than double the display space; as well, a new exit was planned and the lighting, air conditioning and security systems were updated.
During construction, the museum remained open, although rooms were closed as necessary with the artwork temporarily moved to another location. For example, the Botticelli rooms and two others with early Renaissance paintings were closed for 15 months but reopened in October 2016; the major modernization project, New Uffizi, had increased viewing capacity to 101 rooms by late 2016 by expanding into areas used by the Florence State Archive. The Uffizi hosted over two million visitors in 2016, making it the most visited art gallery in Italy. In high season, waiting times can be up to five hours. Tickets are available on-line in advance, however, to reduce the waiting time. A new ticketing system is being tested to reduce queuing times from hours to just minutes; the museum is being renovated to more than double the number of rooms used to display artwork. On 27 May 1993, the Sicilian Mafia carried out a car bomb explosion in Via dei Georgofili and damaged parts of the palace, killing five people.
The blast destroyed five pieces of art and damaged another 30. Some of the paintings were protected by bulletproof glass; the most severe damage was to the Niobe room and classical sculptures and neoclassical interior, although its frescoes were damaged beyond repair. In early August 2007, Florence experienced a heavy rainstorm; the Gallery was flooded, with water leaking through the ceiling, the visitors had to be evacuated. There was a much more significant flood in 1966 which damaged most of the art collections in Florence including some of the works in the Uffizi; the collection contains some ancient sculptures, such as the Arrotino and the Two Wrestlers. Collections of the Uffizi Official website Uffizi – Google Art Project Uffizi Gallery
Lorenzo de' Medici
Lorenzo de' Medici was an Italian statesman, de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic and the most powerful and enthusiastic patron of Renaissance culture in Italy. Known as Lorenzo the Magnificent by contemporary Florentines, he was a magnate, diplomat and patron of scholars and poets; as a patron, he is best known for his sponsorship of artists such as Michelangelo. He held the balance of power within the Italic League, an alliance of states that stabilized political conditions on the Italian peninsula for decades, his life coincided with the mature phase of the Italian Renaissance and the Golden Age of Florence; the Peace of Lodi of 1454 that he helped maintain among the various Italian states collapsed with his death. He is buried in the Medici Chapel in Florence. Lorenzo's grandfather, Cosimo de' Medici, was the first member of the Medici family to lead the Republic of Florence and run the Medici Bank simultaneously; as one of the wealthiest men in Europe, Cosimo spent a large portion of his fortune on government and philanthropy, for example as a patron of the arts and financier of public works.
Lorenzo's father, Piero di Cosimo de' Medici, was at the centre of Florentine civic life, chiefly as an art patron and collector, while Lorenzo's uncle, Giovanni di Cosimo de' Medici, took care of the family's business interests. Lorenzo's mother, Lucrezia Tornabuoni, was a writer of sonnets and a friend to poets and philosophers of the Medici Academy, she became her son's advisor after the deaths of his uncle. Lorenzo, considered the most promising of the five children of Piero and Lucrezia, was tutored by a diplomat and bishop, Gentile de' Becchi, the humanist philosopher Marsilio Ficino, he was trained in Greek by John Argyropoulos. With his brother Giuliano, he participated in jousting, hawking and horse breeding for the Palio, a horse race in Siena. In 1469, aged 19, he won first prize in a jousting tournament sponsored by the Medici; the joust was the subject of a poem written by Luigi Pulci. Niccolò Machiavelli wrote of the occasion sarcastically, that he won "not by way of favour, but by his own valour and skill in arms".
He carried a banner painted by Verrocchio, his horse was named Morello di Vento. Piero sent Lorenzo on many important diplomatic missions when he was still a youth, including trips to Rome to meet the pope and other important religious and political figures. Lorenzo was described as rather plain of appearance and of average height, having a broad frame and short legs, dark hair and eyes, a squashed nose, short-sighted eyes and a harsh voice. Giuliano, on the other hand, was regarded as handsome and a "golden boy", was used as a model by Botticelli in his painting of Mars and Venus. Lorenzo's close friend Niccolo Valori described him as homely, saying, "nature had been a step mother to him in regards to his personal appearance, although she had acted as a loving mother in all things concocted with the mind, his complexion was dark, although his face was not handsome it was so full of dignity as to compel respect." Lorenzo, groomed for power, assumed a leading role in the state upon the death of his father in 1469.
Drained by his grandfather's building projects and stressed by mismanagement and political expenses, the assets of the Medici Bank contracted during the course of Lorenzo's lifetime. Lorenzo, like his grandfather and son, ruled Florence indirectly through surrogates in the city councils by means of threats and strategic marriages, he reigned as a despot, ordinary citizens had little political freedom. Rival Florentine families harboured resentments over the Medicis' dominance, enemies of the Medici remained a factor in Florentine life long after Lorenzo's passing; the most notable of the rival families was the Pazzi. On Easter Sunday, 26 April 1478, in an incident known as the Pazzi conspiracy, a group headed by Girolamo Riario, Francesco de' Pazzi, Francesco Salviati, attacked Lorenzo and his brother and co-ruler Giuliano in the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in an attempt to seize control of the Florentine government. Shockingly, Salviati acted with the blessing of his patron Pope Sixtus IV.
Giuliano was killed, brutally stabbed to death, but Lorenzo escaped with only a minor wound to the shoulder, having been defended by the poet Poliziano. News of the conspiracy spread throughout Florence and was brutally put down by the populace through such measures as the lynching of the archbishop of Pisa and members of the Pazzi family who were involved in the conspiracy. In the aftermath of the Pazzi conspiracy and the punishment of supporters of Pope Sixtus IV, the Medici and Florence earned the wrath of the Holy See, which seized all the Medici assets that Sixtus could find, excommunicated Lorenzo and the entire government of Florence, put the entire Florentine city-state under interdict; when these moves had little effect, Sixtus formed a military alliance with King Ferdinand I of Naples, whose son, Duke of Calabria, led an invasion of the Florentine Republic, still ruled by Lorenzo. Lorenzo rallied the citizens. However, with little support from the traditional Medici allies in Bologna and Milan, the war dragged on, only diplomacy by Lorenzo, who traveled to Naples and became a prisoner of the king for several months resolved the crisis.
That success enabled Lorenzo to secure constitutional changes within the government of the Florentine Republic that further enhanced his own power. Thereaf
Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, 10 kilometres from the coastal town of Piombino, the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago. It is part of the Arcipelago Toscano National Park, the third largest island in Italy, after Sicily and Sardinia, it is located in the Tyrrhenian Sea about 50 kilometres east of the French island of Corsica. The island is part of the province of Livorno and is divided into seven municipalities, with a total population of about 30,000 inhabitants which increases during the summer; the municipalities are Portoferraio, Campo nell'Elba, Marciana, Marciana Marina, Porto Azzurro, Rio. Elba is the largest remaining stretch of land from the ancient tract that once connected the Italian peninsula to Corsica; the northern coast faces the Ligurian Sea, the eastern coast the Piombino Channel, the southern coast the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Corsica Channel divides the western tip of the island from neighbouring Corsica. The island itself is made up of slices of rocks which once formed part of the ancient Tethyan seafloor.
These rocks have been through the Alpine orogeny and the Apennine orogeny. The second of these two events was associated with subduction of the Tethyan oceanic crust underneath Italy and the obduction of parts of the ancient seafloor onto the continents. Extension within the stretched inner part of the Apennine mountains caused adiabatic melting and the intrusion of the Mount Capanne and the La Serra-Porto Azzuro granitoids; these igneous bodies brought with them skarn fluids which dissolved and replaced some of the carbonate units, precipitating iron-rich minerals in their place. One of the iron-rich minerals, was first identified on the island and takes its name from the Latin word for Elba. More high-angle faults formed within the tectonic pile, allowing for the migration of iron-rich fluids through the crust; the deposits left behind by these fluids formed the island's rich seams of iron ore. The terrain is quite varied, is thus divided into several areas based on geomorphology; the mountainous and most recent part of the island can be found to the west, the centre of, dominated by Mount Capanne called the "roof of the Tuscan Archipelago".
The mountain is home to many animal species including the mouflon and wild boar, two species that flourish despite the continuous influx of tourists. The central part of the island is a flat section with the width being reduced to just four kilometres, it is where the major centres can be found: Portoferraio, Campo nell'Elba. To the east is the oldest part of the island, formed over 3 million years ago. In the hilly area, dominated by Monte Calamita, are the deposits of iron that made Elba famous. Rivers exceed 3 kilometres in length, it is common for the shorter ones to dry up during the summer; the largest rivers, sorted by length, are: Fosso San Francesco 6.5 kilometres. The climate of the island is predominantly Mediterranean, except for Mount Capanne, where winters tend to be moderately cold. Precipitation comprises a normal rainfall; the island lies in the rain shadow of the large and mountainous island of Corsica, so precipitation totals are somewhat reduced from the mainland. Snowfall in winter is rare in the lowlands, melts quickly.
The table below shows the average temperatures for the islands by month. The island was inhabited by Ligures Ilvates, who gave it the ancient name Ilva, it was well known from ancient times for its iron resources and valued mines. The Greeks called it Aethalia, after the fumes of the metal producing furnaces. Apollonius of Rhodes mentions it in his epic poem Argonautica, describing that the Argonauts rested here during their travels, he writes that signs of their visit were still visible in his day, including skin-coloured pebbles that they dried their hands on and large stones which they used at discus. Strabo presents a different account: "because the scrapings, which the Argonauts formed when they used their strigils, became congealed, the pebbles on the shore remain variegated still to this day."The island was invaded by the Etruscans and by the Romans. In the middle ages, it was invaded by the Ostrogoths and the Lombards, it became a possession of the Republic of Pisa. After the battle of Meloria, the Republic of Genova took possession of Elba, but it was regained by Pisa in 1292.
The island was retained for two centuries by the Appiani family, Lords of Piombino, when they sold Pisa to the house of Visconti of Milan in 1399. In 1544, the Barbary pirates from North Africa devastated the coasts of Tuscany. In 1546, part of the island was handed over to Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who fortified Portoferraio and renamed it "Cosmopoli", while the rest of the island was returned to the Appiani in 1577. In 1596, Philip II of Spain had two fortresses built there. A part of Elba came into the power of the Kingdom of Naples through the State of the Presidi, including Porto Longone. In 1736, the whole of Elba, with the principality of Piombino, passed under the jurisdiction of Kingdom of Naples; the British landed on the Island of Elba in 1796, after the occupation of Livorno by the French Republican troop
Villa di Castello
The Villa di Castello, near the hills bordering Florence, central Italy, was the country residence of Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. The gardens, filled with fountains, a grotto, became famous throughout Europe; the villa housed some of the great art treasures of Florence, including Sandro Botticelli's Renaissance masterpieces The Birth of Venus and Primavera. The gardens of the Villa had a profound influence upon the design of the Italian Renaissance garden and the French formal garden. Villa Castello is located at the foot of the hills northwest of Florence, near the town of Sesto Fiorentino; the villa was located near a Roman aqueduct, took its name from the water cisterns near the site. A fortified building had been standing on the site since at least 1427, was purchased in 1477 by Lorenzo and his brother Giovanni di Pierfrancesco de' Medici; this the year after their father died at the age of 46, leaving the young boys wards of their cousin Lorenzo il Magnifico, of the senior branch of the Medici family and de facto ruler of Florence.
They reconstructed the old building, adding a courtyard, a loggia and stables. The house was inherited by a famed condottiere, or mercenary soldier, Giovanni dalle Bande Nere and his wife, Maria Salviati, the parents of Cosimo, born in 1519, lived in the house as a child. In 1537, the 26-year-old Duke of Florence, Alessandro de' Medici, was assassinated, Cosimo, though he was only seventeen and a unknown member of the Medici family, was elected by the influential men of Florence to replace him, they were under the impression that they could control him. In 1537, the young Cosimo faced a rebellion by a faction which wanted to restore the Republic of Florence, he defeated them at the Battle of Montemurlo, established himself as the unrivaled ruler of the city. Once his power was secure, Cosimo began to spend more time at his villa in Castello; as the architect and writer Giorgio Vasari wrote, "At this place the Duke began to build a little, one thing after another, to the end that he might reside there more commodiously and his court."
Cosimo commissioned the engineer Piero da San Casciano to construct a system of aqueducts to bring water to the villa and its gardens, the sculptor Niccolò Tribolo to create fountains, statues and a garden, the architect Giorgio Vasari to restore and enlarge the villa. First, under the direction of Piero da San Casciano, an aqueduct was constructed from the Castella higher up the slope of Monte Morello to a small reservoir he built on the hill above the villa; when more water was needed, a second aqueduct was built from another spring at Petraia. Tribolo's design for the garden was described in great detail in Vasari's Lives of the Artists; the garden was laid out on the site of original walled garden, which ran from the villa up the gentle slope toward the mountain. On the hillside above the back wall of the garden, where the water reservoir was located, Tribolo created a bosco, or a simulated natural forest, separated from the garden by a high retaining wall. Below this, he divided the old walled garden into two by another wall, carved out a small upper terrace and a large lower terrace, connected by two ornamental stairways.
The smaller upper garden was planted with lemon trees, trained to grow up the walls. It contained, in the center of the back wall, the entrance to the grotto, a small cave whose walls resembled a natural cavern, richly decorated and filled with sculpture; the larger lower garden was divided into squares, like small rooms, divided by paths and bordered by hedges and rows of cedar and olive trees, filled with flower beds. In the center of the terrace was a circular labyrinth of cypress trees interplanted with laurel and roses. In the center of the labyrinth was fountain crowned by a statue of Venus. A second, larger fountain, crowned with a bronze statue of Hercules defeating Antaeus, was located between the labyrinth and the villa; the hydraulic system of the garden was one of the wonders of the High Renaissance, played an important part in the symbolism of the garden. In the center of the reservoir above the garden, in the "sacred wood," was a statue of Appenino, symbolizing the mountains of Tuscany, portrayed as an old man shivering, with water pouring over his head.
Water flowed from the reservoir down bronze pipes and emerged in two fountains built in the retaining wall on either side of grotto, representing the two rivers of Florence. Water flowed into the grotto, running down the walls; the two "rivers" flowed in channels through the garden, while other pipes carried water to the two fountains. All fountains during the Renaissance depended upon gravity, the elevation of the water source above the fountain, to make the water shoot upwards; because the water source for the fountain of Hercules and Antaeus was on the hillside high above the fountain, a jet of water spouted a full three meters above his mouth. Once it had passed through the fountains, the water flowed in two separate channels into two small private gardens on either side of the villa, entered two large fishponds in front of the villa. After that, the water was used to irrigate the gardens below; the garden contained a series of ingenious giochi d'acqua, or "water features", to entertain the Duke and his visitors.
The grotto was designed so that, by turning a key, the gate would lock guests inside the grotto and they would be soaked with water from hidden pipes. The fountain of Hercules was to be surrounded by a circle of trees, by a hidden pipe. By turning another key, spectators looking at the fountain would be sprayed with water from hidden
Athena or Athene given the epithet Pallas, is an ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom and warfare, syncretized with the Roman goddess Minerva. Athena was regarded as the patron and protectress of various cities across Greece the city of Athens, from which she most received her name, she is shown in art wearing a helmet and holding a spear. Her major symbols include owls, olive trees and the Gorgoneion. From her origin as an Aegean palace goddess, Athena was associated with the city, she was known as Polias and Poliouchos, her temples were located atop the fortified Acropolis in the central part of the city. The Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis is dedicated to her, along with numerous other temples and monuments; as the patron of craft and weaving, Athena was known as Ergane. She was a warrior goddess, was believed to lead soldiers into battle as Athena Promachos, her main festival in Athens was the Panathenaia, celebrated during the month of Hekatombaion in midsummer and was the most important festival on the Athenian calendar.
In Greek mythology, Athena was believed to have been born from the head of her father Zeus. In the founding myth of Athens, Athena bested Poseidon in a competition over patronage of the city by creating the first olive tree, she was known as Athena Parthenos, but, in one archaic Attic myth, the god Hephaestus tried and failed to rape her, resulting in Gaia giving birth to Erichthonius, an important Athenian founding hero. Athena was the patron goddess of heroic endeavor. Along with Aphrodite and Hera, Athena was one of the three goddesses whose feud resulted in the beginning of the Trojan War, she plays an active role in the Iliad, in which she assists the Achaeans and, in the Odyssey, she is the divine counselor to Odysseus. In the writings of the Roman poet Ovid, Athena was said to have competed against the mortal Arachne in a weaving competition, afterwards transforming Arachne into the first spider. Since the Renaissance, Athena has become an international symbol of wisdom, the arts, classical learning.
Western artists and allegorists have used Athena as a symbol of freedom and democracy. Athena is associated with the city of Athens; the name of the city in ancient Greek is Ἀθῆναι, a plural toponym, designating the place where—according to myth—she presided over the Athenai, a sisterhood devoted to her worship. In ancient times, scholars argued whether Athena was named after Athens after Athena. Now scholars agree that the goddess takes her name from the city. Testimonies from different cities in ancient Greece attest that similar city goddesses were worshipped in other cities and, like Athena, took their names from the cities where they were worshipped. For example, in Mycenae there was a goddess called Mykene, whose sisterhood was known as Mykenai, whereas at Thebes an analogous deity was called Thebe, the city was known under the plural form Thebai; the name Athenai is of Pre-Greek origin because it contains the Pre-Greek morpheme *-ān-. In his dialogue Cratylus, the Greek philosopher Plato gives some rather imaginative etymologies of Athena's name, based on the theories of the ancient Athenians and his own etymological speculations: That is a graver matter, there, my friend, the modern interpreters of Homer may, I think, assist in explaining the view of the ancients.
For most of these in their explanations of the poet, assert that he meant by Athena "mind" and "intelligence", the maker of names appears to have had a singular notion about her. However, the name Theonoe may mean "she who knows divine things" better than others. Nor shall we be far wrong in supposing that the author of it wished to identify this Goddess with moral intelligence, therefore gave her the name Etheonoe. Thus, Plato believed that Athena's name was derived from Greek Ἀθεονόα, Atheonóa—which the Greeks rationalised as from the deity's mind; the second-century AD orator Aelius Aristides attempted to derive natural symbols from the etymological roots of Athena's names to be aether, air and moon. Athena was the Aegean goddess of the palace, who presided over household crafts and protected the king. A single Mycenaean Greek inscription a-ta-na po-ti-ni-ja /Athana potnia/ appears at Knossos in the Linear B tablets from the Late Minoan II-era "Room of the Chariot Tablets". Although Athana potnia is translated Mistress Athena, it could mean "the Potnia of Athana", or the Lady of Athens.
However, any connection to the city of Athens in the Knossos inscription is uncertain. A sign series a-ta-no-dju-wa-ja appears in the still undeciphered corpus of Linear A tablets, written in the unclassified Minoan language; this could be connected with the Linear B Mycenaean expressions a-ta-na po-ti-ni-ja and di-u-ja or di-wi-ja (Diwia, "of Zeus" or, possibly
Primavera, is a large panel painting in tempera paint by the Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli made in the late 1470s or early 1480s. It has been described as "one of the most written about, most controversial paintings in the world", "one of the most popular paintings in Western art"; the painting depicts a group of figures from classical mythology in a garden, but no story has been found that brings this particular group together. Most critics agree that the painting is an allegory based on the lush growth of Spring, but accounts of any precise meaning vary, though many involve the Renaissance Neoplatonism which fascinated intellectual circles in Florence; the subject was first described as Primavera by the art historian Giorgio Vasari who saw it at Villa Castello, just outside Florence, by 1550. Although the two are now known not to be a pair, the painting is discussed with Botticelli's other large mythological painting, The Birth of Venus in the Uffizi, they are among the most famous paintings in the world, icons of the Italian Renaissance.
As depictions of subjects from classical mythology on a large scale they were unprecedented in Western art since classical antiquity. It used to be thought that they were both commissioned by the same member of the Medici family, but this is now uncertain; the history of the painting is not known, though it seems to have been commissioned by one of the Medici family. It draws from a number of classical and Renaissance literary sources, including the works of the Ancient Roman poet Ovid and, less Lucretius, may allude to a poem by Poliziano, the Medici house poet who may have helped Botticelli devise the composition. Since 1919 the painting has been part of the collection of the Uffizi Gallery in Italy; the painting features two male, along with a cupid, in an orange grove. The movement of the composition is from right to left, so following that direction the standard identification of the figures is: at far right "Zephyrus, the biting wind of March and possesses the nymph Chloris, whom he marries and transforms into a deity.
Chloris the nymph overlaps the goddess she transforms into. In the centre and somewhat set back from the other figures stands Venus, a red-draped woman in blue. Like the flower-gatherer, she returns the viewer's gaze; the trees behind her form a broken arch to draw the eye. In the air above her a blindfolded Cupid aims his bow to the left. On the left of the painting the Three Graces, a group of three females in diaphanous white, join hands in a dance. At the extreme left Mercury, clothed in red with a sword and a helmet, raises his caduceus or wooden rod towards some wispy gray clouds; the interactions between the figures are enigmatic. Zephyrus and Chloris are looking at each other. Flora and Venus look out at the viewer, the Cupid is blindfolded, Mercury has turned his back on the others, looks up at the clouds; the central Grace looks towards him. Flora's smile was unusual in painting at this date; the pastoral scenery is elaborate. There are 500 identified plant species depicted in the painting, with about 190 different flowers, of which at least 130 can be identified.
The overall appearance, size, of the painting is similar to that of the millefleur Flemish tapestries that were popular decorations for palaces at the time. These tapestries had not caught up by the 1480s with the artistic developments of the Italian Renaissance, the composition of the painting has aspects that belong to this still Gothic style; the figures are spread in a rough line across the front of the picture space, "set side by side like pearls on a string". It is now known that in the setting for which the painting was designed the bottom was about at eye level, or above it explaining "the rising plane" on which the figures stand; the feet of Venus are higher than those of the others, showing she is behind them, but she is at the same scale, if not larger, than the other figures. Overlapping of other figures by Mercury's sword and Chloris' hands shows that they stand in front of the left Grace and Flora which might not be obvious otherwise, for example from their feet, it has been argued that the flowers do not grow smaller to the rear of the picture space a feature of the millefleur tapestries.
The costumes of the figures are versions of the dress of contemporary Florence, though the sort of "quasi-theatrical costumes designed for masquerades of the sort that Vasari wrote were invented by Lorenzo de’ Medici for civic festivals and tournaments." The lack of an obvious narrative may relate to the world of pageants and tableau vivants as well as static Gothic allegories. Various interpretations of the figures have been set forth, but it is agreed that at least at one level the painting is "an elaborate mythological allegory of the burgeoning fertility of the world." It is thought that Botticelli had help devising the composition of the painting and whatever meanings it was intended to contain, as it appears that the painting reflects a deep knowledge of classical literature and philosophy that Botticelli is unlikely to have possessed. Poliziano is thought to have been involved in this, though Marsilio Ficino, another member of Lorenzo de' Medici's circle and a key figure in Renaissance Neoplatonism, has often been mentioned.
One aspect of the paint
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection