Gildo De Stefano
Ermenegildo De Stefano is an Italian journalist, music critic and musicologist. Italian writer and journalist specializes in African-American music. Music journalist and critic of the Italian daily Roma and art director of the Italian Festival of Ragtime. Degree in Sociology of Communications, collaborates with RAI Radio from the 1980s, for which he conducted jazz programs and publishes essays on Nuova Rivista Musicale Italiana published by RAI, he organizes courses of Afro-American music and Creative Writing workshops in various Italian universities and music conservatories including San Pietro a Majella. He is the author of the only ragtime history in Italian language, published by Marsilio Editori in two editions, in 1984 and in 1991. In the mid-1990s, has won a national prize for journalism of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport to coincide with the arrival among finalists of literary Prize Calvin. Collaborates with the Foundation for the Encyclopedia Italiana Treccani for African-American voices and other international journals as the Canadian CODA magazine".
He is Member of the National Union of Artists. AfroAmerican Songs, Gammalibri Editions, Milan 1982. History of Ragtime: origins, technique, 1880-1980, Marsilio Editions, Venice 1984 ISBN 8831749846 Three hundred years of Jazz: 1619-1919 - The origins of Afro-American music between sociology and anthropology, SugarCo Editions, Milan 1986. Modern Jazz: 1940-1960 - Chronicle of creative two decades, Kaos Editions, Milan 1990. Frank Sinatra, Marsilio Editions, Venice 1991. Vinicio Capossela, Lombardi Editions, Milan 1993. Francesco Guccini, Lombardi Editions, Milan 1993. Louis Armstrong, Préface by Renzo Arbore, Italian Scientific Editions, Naples 1997. Vesuwiev Jazz, Italian Scientific Editions, Préface by Renzo Arbore, Naples 1999. Easy street story, L'Isola dei ragazzi Editions, Naples 2007 ISBN 8887292965 The people of samba: the story and the characters of Brazilian popular music, RAI Editions, Rome 2005. Around Ragtime and Jazz, Préface by Amiri Baraka, Introduction by Gianni Minà, Sugarco Editions, Milan 2007 ISBN 887198532X The Voice.
Life and Italian roots of Frank Sinatra, Préface by Renzo Arbore, Coniglio Editions, Rome 2011 A social history of jazz, Préface by Zygmunt Bauman, Mimesis Editions, Milan 2014 ISBN 9788857520018 Naples stories, Amazon.it, Naples 2015, ASIN: B00XMZ1HOI Ballad and death of a cat in the street- Malcolm! Malcolm!, Preface by Claudio Gorlier, Postface by Walter Mauro, Amazon.it, Naples 2015, ASIN: B017LYN7G6 Zoo Scampia, Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso, Milan 2016 Saudade Bossa Nova: music and rhythms of Brazil, Preface by Chico Buarque, Introduction di Gianni Minà, Logisma Editions, Firenze 2017, ISBN 978-88-97530-88-6 This article is or taken from the Italian Wikipedia's article entitled Gildo De Stefano. Media related to Gildo de Stefano at Wikimedia Commons Official website
Brazil the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, its most populated city is São Paulo; the federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 kilometers, it borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile and covers 47.3% of the continent's land area. Its Amazon River basin includes a vast tropical forest, home to diverse wildlife, a variety of ecological systems, extensive natural resources spanning numerous protected habitats; this unique environmental heritage makes Brazil one of 17 megadiverse countries, is the subject of significant global interest and debate regarding deforestation and environmental protection.
Brazil was inhabited by numerous tribal nations prior to the landing in 1500 of explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, who claimed the area for the Portuguese Empire. Brazil remained a Portuguese colony until 1808, when the capital of the empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro. In 1815, the colony was elevated to the rank of kingdom upon the formation of the United Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves. Independence was achieved in 1822 with the creation of the Empire of Brazil, a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system; the ratification of the first constitution in 1824 led to the formation of a bicameral legislature, now called the National Congress. The country became a presidential republic in 1889 following a military coup d'état. An authoritarian military junta came to power in 1964 and ruled until 1985, after which civilian governance resumed. Brazil's current constitution, formulated in 1988, defines it as a democratic federal republic. Due to its rich culture and history, the country ranks thirteenth in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Brazil is considered an advanced emerging economy. It has the ninth largest GDP in the world by nominal, eight and PPP measures, it is one of the world's major breadbaskets, being the largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years. It is classified as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country, with the largest share of global wealth in Latin America. Brazil is a regional power and sometimes considered a great or a middle power in international affairs. On account of its international recognition and influence, the country is subsequently classified as an emerging power and a potential superpower by several analysts. Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20, BRICS, Union of South American Nations, Organization of American States, Organization of Ibero-American States and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, it is that the word "Brazil" comes from the Portuguese word for brazilwood, a tree that once grew plentifully along the Brazilian coast.
In Portuguese, brazilwood is called pau-brasil, with the word brasil given the etymology "red like an ember", formed from brasa and the suffix -il. As brazilwood produces a deep red dye, it was valued by the European textile industry and was the earliest commercially exploited product from Brazil. Throughout the 16th century, massive amounts of brazilwood were harvested by indigenous peoples along the Brazilian coast, who sold the timber to European traders in return for assorted European consumer goods; the official Portuguese name of the land, in original Portuguese records, was the "Land of the Holy Cross", but European sailors and merchants called it the "Land of Brazil" because of the brazilwood trade. The popular appellation eclipsed and supplanted the official Portuguese name; some early sailors called it the "Land of Parrots". In the Guarani language, an official language of Paraguay, Brazil is called "Pindorama"; this was the name the indigenous population gave to the region, meaning "land of the palm trees".
Some of the earliest human remains found in the Americas, Luzia Woman, were found in the area of Pedro Leopoldo, Minas Gerais and provide evidence of human habitation going back at least 11,000 years. The earliest pottery found in the Western Hemisphere was excavated in the Amazon basin of Brazil and radiocarbon dated to 8,000 years ago; the pottery was found near Santarém and provides evidence that the tropical forest region supported a complex prehistoric culture. The Marajoara culture flourished on Marajó in the Amazon delta from 800 CE to 1400 CE, developing sophisticated pottery, social stratification, large populations, mound building, complex social formations such as chiefdoms. Around the time of the Portuguese arrival, the territory of current day Brazil had an estimated indigenous population of 7 million people semi-nomadic who subsisted on hunting, fishing and migrant agriculture; the indigenous population of Brazil comprised several large indigenous ethnic groups. The Tupí people were subdivided into the Tupiniquins and Tupinambás, there were many subdivisions of the other gro
The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that has six strings. It is played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the finger/fingernails of one hand, while fretting with the fingers of the other hand; the sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker. The guitar is a type of chordophone, traditionally constructed from wood and strung with either gut, nylon or steel strings and distinguished from other chordophones by its construction and tuning; the modern guitar was preceded by the gittern, the vihuela, the four-course Renaissance guitar, the five-course baroque guitar, all of which contributed to the development of the modern six-string instrument. There are three main types of modern acoustic guitar: the classical guitar, the steel-string acoustic guitar, the archtop guitar, sometimes called a "jazz guitar"; the tone of an acoustic guitar is produced by the strings' vibration, amplified by the hollow body of the guitar, which acts as a resonating chamber.
The classical guitar is played as a solo instrument using a comprehensive finger-picking technique where each string is plucked individually by the player's fingers, as opposed to being strummed. The term "finger-picking" can refer to a specific tradition of folk, blues and country guitar playing in the United States; the acoustic bass guitar is a low-pitched instrument, one octave below a regular guitar. Electric guitars, introduced in the 1930s, use an amplifier and a loudspeaker that both makes the sound of the instrument loud enough for the performers and audience to hear, given that it produces an electric signal when played, that can electronically manipulate and shape the tone using an equalizer and a huge variety of electronic effects units, the most used ones being distortion and reverb. Early amplified guitars employed a hollow body, but solid wood guitars began to dominate during the 1960s and 1970s, as they are less prone to unwanted acoustic feedback "howls"; as with acoustic guitars, there are a number of types of electric guitars, including hollowbody guitars, archtop guitars and solid-body guitars, which are used in rock music.
The loud, amplified sound and sonic power of the electric guitar played through a guitar amp has played a key role in the development of blues and rock music, both as an accompaniment instrument and performing guitar solos, in many rock subgenres, notably heavy metal music and punk rock. The electric guitar has had a major influence on popular culture; the guitar is used in a wide variety of musical genres worldwide. It is recognized as a primary instrument in genres such as blues, country, folk, jota, metal, reggae, rock and many forms of pop. Before the development of the electric guitar and the use of synthetic materials, a guitar was defined as being an instrument having "a long, fretted neck, flat wooden soundboard, a flat back, most with incurved sides." The term is used to refer to a number of chordophones that were developed and used across Europe, beginning in the 12th century and in the Americas. A 3,300-year-old stone carving of a Hittite bard playing a stringed instrument is the oldest iconographic representation of a chordophone and clay plaques from Babylonia show people playing an instrument that has a strong resemblance to the guitar, indicating a possible Babylonian origin for the guitar.
The modern word guitar, its antecedents, has been applied to a wide variety of chordophones since classical times and as such causes confusion. The English word guitar, the German Gitarre, the French guitare were all adopted from the Spanish guitarra, which comes from the Andalusian Arabic قيثارة and the Latin cithara, which in turn came from the Ancient Greek κιθάρα. Which comes from the Persian word "sihtar"; this pattern of naming is visible in setar and sitar. The word "tar" at the end of all of these words is a Persian word that means "string". Many influences are cited as antecedents to the modern guitar. Although the development of the earliest "guitars" is lost in the history of medieval Spain, two instruments are cited as their most influential predecessors, the European lute and its cousin, the four-string oud. At least two instruments called "guitars" were in use in Spain by 1200: the guitarra latina and the so-called guitarra morisca; the guitarra morisca had a rounded back, wide fingerboard, several sound holes.
The guitarra Latina had a narrower neck. By the 14th century the qualifiers "moresca" or "morisca" and "latina" had been dropped, these two cordophones were referred to as guitars; the Spanish vihuela, called in Italian the "viola da mano", a guitar-like instrument of the 15th and 16th centuries, is considered to have been the single most important influence in the development of the baroque guitar. It had six courses, lute-like tuning in fourths and a guitar-like body, although early representations reveal an instrument with a cut waist, it was larger than the contemporary four-course guitars. By the 16th century, the vihuela's construction had more in common with the modern guitar, with its curved one-piece ribs, than with the viols, more like a larger version of the contemporary four-course guita
A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. This activates a row of levers that turn a trigger mechanism that plucks one or more strings with a small plectrum; the term denotes the whole family of similar plucked-keyboard instruments, including the smaller virginals and spinet. The harpsichord was used in Renaissance and Baroque music. During the late 18th century, with the rise of the piano, it disappeared from the musical scene. In the 20th century, it made a resurgence, being used in informed performances of older music, in new compositions, in certain styles of popular music. Harpsichords vary in size and shape; the player depresses a key that rocks over a pivot in the middle of its length. The other end of the key lifts a jack; when the player releases the key, the far end returns to its rest position, the jack falls back. As the key reaches its rest position, a felt damper atop the jack stops the string's vibrations; these basic principles are explained in detail below.
The keylever is a simple pivot, which rocks on a balance pin that passes through a hole drilled through the keylever. The jack is a rectangular piece of wood that sits upright on the end of the keylever; the jacks are held in place by the registers. These are two long strips of wood, which run in the gap between bellyrail; the registers have rectangular mortises through which the jacks pass as they can move down. The registers hold the jacks in the precise location needed to pluck the string. In the jack, a plectrum juts out horizontally and passes just under the string. Plectra were made of bird quill or leather; when the front of the key is pressed, the back of the key rises, the jack is lifted, the plectrum plucks the string. The vertical motion of the jack is stopped by the jackrail, covered with soft felt to muffle the impact; when the key is released, the jack falls back down under its own weight, the plectrum passes back under the string. This is made possible by having the plectrum held in a tongue attached with a pivot and a spring to the body of the jack.
The bottom surface of the plectrum is cut at a slant. When the jack arrives in lowered position, the felt damper touches the string, causing the note to cease; each string is wound around a tuning pin at the end of the string closer to the player. When rotated with a wrench or tuning hammer, the tuning pin adjusts the tension so that the string sounds the correct pitch. Tuning pins are held in holes drilled in the pinblock or wrestplank, an oblong hardwood plank. Proceeding from the tuning pin, a string next passes over the nut, a sharp edge, made of hardwood and is attached to the wrestplank; the section of the string beyond the nut forms its vibrating length, plucked and creates sound. At the other end of its vibrating length, the string passes over the bridge, another sharp edge made of hardwood; as with the nut, the horizontal position of the string along the bridge is determined by a vertical metal pin inserted into the bridge, against which the string rests. The bridge itself rests on a soundboard, a thin panel of wood made of spruce, fir or—in some Italian harpsichords—cypress.
The soundboard efficiently transduces the vibrations of the strings into vibrations in the air. A string is attached at its far end by a loop to a hitchpin. While many harpsichords have one string per note, more elaborate harpsichords can have two or more strings for each note; when there are multiple strings for each note, these additional strings are called "choirs" of strings. This provides two advantages: the ability to vary ability to vary tonal quality. Volume is increased when the mechanism of the instrument is set up by the player so that the press of a single key plucks more than one string. Tonal quality can be varied in two ways. First, different choirs of strings can be designed to have distinct tonal qualities by having one set of strings plucked closer to the nut, which emphasizes the higher harmonics, produces a "nasal" sound quality; the mechanism of the instrument, called "stops" permits the player to select the other. Second, having one key pluck two strings at once changes not just volume but tonal quality.
A vivid effect is obtained when the strings plucked are an octave apart. This is heard by the ear not as two pitches but as one: the sound of the higher string is blended with that of the lower one, the ear hears the lower pitch, enriched in tonal quality by the additional strength in the upper harmonics of the note sounded by the higher string; when describing a harpsichord it is customary to specify its choirs of strings called its disposition. Strings at eight foot pitch sound at the normal expected pitch, strings at four foot pitch sound
Gianni Minà is an Italian journalist and television host. He has collaborated with both foreign newspapers and magazines. Minà is the publisher and editor-in-chief of the literary journal Latinoamerica e tutti i sud del mondo as well as director of the book series Continente desaparecido published by Sperling & Kupfer; this series focuses on its authors. Minà has published many books on Latin America. In 2003 Minà was elected to the assembly of the Società Italiana Autori ed Editori and was a member of the committee that designs and produces Vivaverdi, the journal of Italian authors. In 2007 Minà received the Kamera Prize at the Berlin Film Festival for his lifetime's work; this is the most prestigious award given to documentarists. Born in Turin, Minà began his career as a journalist in 1959 with the sport newspaper Tuttosport, of which he was editor-in-chief. In 1960 he began working with the RAI as a sports collaborator for the Olympic Games in Rome. In 1965, after working with the sports magazine Sprint, edited by Maurizio Barendson, Minà wrote reports and made documentaries for a variety of television programs including Tv7, AZ, the Special Services of TG, Dribbling and Gulliver.
He reported on eight world soccer championships and seven Olympic Games in addition to many world boxing championships, most notably those from the era of Muhammad Ali. He produced Una storia del Jazz in four episodes, programs on folk music from Central and South America, as well as a sociological and technical history of boxing in 14 episodes entitled Facce piene di pugni. Minà was one of the founders of L'altra domenica together with Renzo Arbore. In 1976, after 17 years of temporary and unstable work, he was hired by Tg2 headed by Andrea Barbato, began reporting on boxing, the world of American show business, the social conflicts of minority groups. Around that time he began reporting from Latin America, an aspect that has defined his entire career. In 1981 President Sandro Pertini awarded Minà the Saint Vincent Prize as best television journalist of the year. At the same time, after taking part in two series of Giovanni Minoli's Mixer, he debuted as an author and host of Blitz, an innovative program of the R.
A. I. that ran on Sunday afternoons and which featured guests such as Federico Fellini, Eduardo De Filippo, Muhammad Ali, Robert De Niro, Jane Fonda, Gabriel García Márquez, Enzo Ferrari. In 1987 he interviewed Cuban President Fidel Castro for the first time; this 16-hour encounter was part of a documentary that went on to become a classic. The documentary was published as a book around the world; the historic interview served as the primary source for Fidel Racconta il Che, a report in which the Cuban leader, for the first and only time, discusses the heroic deeds of Ernesto Che Guevara. In 1990, following the decline of communism, a second interview between Minà and Castro was held; the two interviews were brought together in the book Fidel. Gabriel García Márquez wrote the prologue for the first interview while Brazilian writer, Jorge Amado, wrote the prologue for the second interview. In 1991 Minà produced Alta Classe, a televised series featuring the profiles of such great artists as Ray Charles, Pino Daniele, Massimo Troisi, Chico Buarque de Hollanda.
He created the in-depth investigative program Zona Cesarini. Among his most successful documentaries are those related to sports, including features on Nereo Rocco, Diego Maradona and Michel Platini, Carlos Monzon, Edwin Moses, Pietro Mennea and Cassius Clay / Muhammad Ali. Minà followed Ali throughout his long-standing career and dedicated the film Cassius Clay, una storia Americana to the boxer. In 1992 Minà began a series of works on Latin America: Storia di Rigoberta on Rigoberta Menchú, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize Immagini dal Chiapas – Marcos e l’insurrezione zapatista, presented at the Venice Film Festival in 1996 Marcos: aquí estamos, a two-episode report on the march of the Mayan indigenous people from Chiapas to Mexico City, featuring an exclusive interview with deputy commanding officer Marcos and conducted together with writer Manuel Vázquez Montalbán. Il Che quarant ` anni dopo inspired by the political life story of Ernesto Che Guevara. Il Papa e Fidel A documentary on John Paul II's visit to Cuba, interspersed with Fidel Castro's account of that event to a group of North American editors and excerpts of the Pope's speeches at Santa Clara, Camageuy and Havana.
In 2001 Minà produced Maradona: non sarò mai un uomo comune, a 70-minute confessional report with Diego Maradona at the end of the most painful year in the life of the former soccer player. In 2004 Minà initiated a project which he followed for the next eleven years, it was based on the youth diaries of Ernesto Che Guev
A guitarist is a person who plays the guitar. Guitarists may play a variety of guitar family instruments such as classical guitars, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass guitars; some guitarists accompany themselves on the guitar by playing the harmonica. The guitarist may employ any of several methods for sounding the guitar, including finger picking, depending on the type of strings used, including strumming with the fingers, or a guitar pick made of bone, plastic, felt, leather, or paper, melodic flatpicking and finger-picking; the guitarist may employ various methods for selecting notes and chords, including fingering, the barre, and'bottleneck' or steel-guitar slides made of glass or metal. These left- and right-hand techniques may be intermixed in performance. Several magazines and websites have compiled what they intend as lists of the greatest guitarists—for example The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine, or 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World magazine.
Rolling Stone In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine published a list called The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. This list included 100 guitarists whom the magazine editor David Fricke considered the best, with a brief introduction for each of them; the first in this list is the American guitarist Jimi Hendrix introduced by Pete Townshend, guitarist for The Who, who was, in his turn, ranked at #50 in the list. In describing the list to readers, Paul MacInnes from British newspaper The Guardian wrote, "Surprisingly enough for an American magazine, the top 10 is fair jam-packed with Yanks," though he noted three exceptions in the top 10; the online magazine Blogcritics criticized the list for introducing some undeserving guitarists while forgetting some artists the writer considered more worthy, such as Johnny Marr, Al Di Meola, Phil Keaggy or John Petrucci. In 2011, Rolling Stone updated the list, which this time was chosen by a panel of guitarists and other experts with the top 5 consisting of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and Jeff Beck.
Artists who had not been included in the previous list were added. Rory Gallagher, for example, was ranked in 57th place; the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time is mentioned in many biographies about artists who appear in the list. Guitar World Guitar World, a monthly music magazine devoted to the guitar published their list of 100 greatest guitarists in the book Guitar World Presents the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time from the Pages of Guitar World Magazine. Different from the Rolling Stone list, which listed guitarists in descending order, Guitar World divided guitarists by music genre—such as "Lords of Hard Rock" for hard rock artists or "Jazzmen" for jazz players. Despite the appearance in other magazines like Billboard, this publication by Guitar World was criticized for including no female musicians within its selection. However, Guitar World published a list of "Eight Amazing Female Acoustic Players," including Kaki King, Muriel Anderson and Sharon Isbin. TIME and others Following the death of Les Paul, TIME website presented their list of 10 greatest artists in electric guitar.
As in Rolling Stone magazine's list, Jimi Hendrix was chosen as the greatest guitarist followed by Slash from Guns'N' Roses, B. B. King, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton. Gigwise.com, an online music magazine ranks Jimi Hendrix as the greatest guitarist followed by Jimmy Page, B. B. King, Keith Richards and Kirk Hammett. There are many classical guitarists listed as notable in their respective epochs. In recent decades, the most "notable classical and cross genre" guitarist was Paco de Lucía, one of the first flamenco guitarists to have crossed over into other genres of music such as classical and jazz. Richard Chapman and Eric Clapton, authors of Guitar: Music, Players, describe de Lucía as a "titanic figure in the world of flamenco guitar", Dennis Koster, author of Guitar Atlas, has referred to de Lucía as "one of history's greatest guitarists.". Media related to Guitarists at Wikimedia Commons
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,084 inhabitants in 2013, over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area. Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of that era, it is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages". A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1871 the city was the capital of the established Kingdom of Italy; the Florentine dialect forms the base of Standard Italian and it became the language of culture throughout Italy due to the prestige of the masterpieces by Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini. The city attracts millions of tourists each year, the Historic Centre of Florence was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982; the city is noted for Renaissance art and architecture and monuments.
The city contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, still exerts an influence in the fields of art and politics. Due to Florence's artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Florence is an important city in Italian fashion, being ranked in the top 15 fashion capitals of the world. In 2008, the city had the 17th highest average income in Italy. Florence originated as a Roman city, after a long period as a flourishing trading and banking medieval commune, it was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, it was politically and culturally one of the most important cities in Europe and the world from the 14th to 16th centuries; the language spoken in the city during the 14th century was, still is, accepted as the Italian language. All the writers and poets in Italian literature of the golden age are in some way connected with Florence, leading to the adoption of the Florentine dialect, above all the local dialects, as a literary language of choice.
Starting from the late Middle Ages, Florentine money—in the form of the gold florin—financed the development of industry all over Europe, from Britain to Bruges, to Lyon and Hungary. Florentine bankers financed the English kings during the Hundred Years War, they 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 history's 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 and Clement VII. Catherine de Medici married King Henry II of France and, after his death in, 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 formed in 200 BC the small settlement of Fiesole, destroyed by Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 80 BC in reprisal for supporting the populares faction in Rome. The present city of Florence was established by Julius Caesar in 59 BC as a settlement for his veteran soldiers and was named Fluentia, owing to the fact that it was built between two rivers, changed to Florentia, 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 main route between Rome and the north, within the fertile valley of the Arno, the settlement became an important commercial centre. In centuries to come, the city experienced turbulent periods of Ostrogothic rule, during which the city was troubled by warfare between the Ostrogoths and the Byzantines, which may have caused the population to fall to as few as 1,000 people. 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 grow again and commerce prospered. In 854, Florence and Fiesole were united in one county. Margrave Hugo chose Florence as his residency instead of Lucca at about 1000 AD; the Golden Age of Florentine art began around this time. In 1013, construction began on the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte; the exterior of the church was reworked in Romanesque style between 1059 and 1128. In 1100, Florence was a "Commune"; the city's primary resource was the Arno river, providing power and access for the industry, access to the Mediterranean sea for international trade. Another great source of strength was its industrious merchant community; the Florentine merchant banking skills became recognised in Europe after they brought decisive financial innovation to medieval fairs. This period saw the eclipse of Florence's powerful rival Pisa, the exercise of power by the mercantile elite following an anti-aristocratic movement, led by Giano della Bella, that resulted in a set of laws called the Ordinances of Justice.
Of a population estimated at 94,00