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
St. Proclus (Michelangelo)
The statue of St. Proclus was created by Michelangelo out of marble, its height is 58.5 cm. It is situated in the Basilica of Bologna, its subject is Saint Proculus, a martyr of Bologna
David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created in marble between 1501 and 1504 by the Italian artist Michelangelo. David is a 5.17-metre marble statue of the Biblical hero David, a favoured subject in the art of Florence. David was commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral, but was instead placed in a public square, outside the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of civic government in Florence, in the Piazza della Signoria where it was unveiled on 8 September 1504; the statue was moved to the Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence, in 1873, replaced at the original location by a replica. Because of the nature of the hero it represented, the statue soon came to symbolize the defence of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family; the eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome.
The history of the statue begins before Michelangelo's work on it from 1501 to 1504. Prior to Michelangelo's involvement, the Overseers of the Office of Works of Florence Cathedral, consisting of members of the influential woolen cloth guild, the Arte della Lana, had plans to commission a series of twelve large Old Testament sculptures for the buttresses of the cathedral. In 1410 Donatello made the first of a figure of Joshua in terracotta. A figure of Hercules in terracotta, was commissioned from the Florentine sculptor Agostino di Duccio in 1463 and was made under Donatello's direction. Eager to continue their project, in 1464, the Operai contracted Agostino to create a sculpture of David. A block of marble was provided from a quarry in Carrara, a town in the Apuan Alps in northern Tuscany. Agostino only got as far as beginning to shape the legs and the torso, roughing out some drapery and gouging a hole between the legs, his association with the project ceased, for reasons unknown, with the death of Donatello in 1466, ten years Antonio Rossellino was commissioned to take up where Agostino had left off.
Rossellino's contract was terminated soon thereafter, the block of marble remained neglected for 26 years, all the while exposed to the elements in the yard of the cathedral workshop. This was of great concern to the Opera authorities, as such a large piece of marble not only was costly but represented a large amount of labour and difficulty in its transportation to Florence. In 1500, an inventory of the cathedral workshops described the piece as "a certain figure of marble called David, badly blocked out and supine." A year documents showed that the Operai were determined to find an artist who could take this large piece of marble and turn it into a finished work of art. They ordered the block of stone, which they called The Giant, "raised on its feet" so that a master experienced in this kind of work might examine it and express an opinion. Though Leonardo da Vinci and others were consulted, it was Michelangelo, only 26 years old, who convinced the Operai that he deserved the commission. On 16 August 1501, Michelangelo was given the official contract to undertake this challenging new task.
He began carving the statue early in the morning on 13 September, a month after he was awarded the contract. He would work on the massive statue for more than two years. On 25 January 1504, when the sculpture was nearing completion, Florentine authorities had to acknowledge there would be little possibility of raising the more than six-ton statue to the roof of the cathedral, they convened a committee of 30 Florentine citizens that comprised many artists, including Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli, to decide on an appropriate site for David. While nine different locations for the statue were discussed, the majority of members seem to have been split between two sites. One group, led by Giuliano da Sangallo and supported by Leonardo and Piero di Cosimo, among others, believed that, due to the imperfections in the marble, the sculpture should be placed under the roof of the Loggia dei Lanzi on Piazza della Signoria. Another opinion, supported by Botticelli, was that the sculpture should be situated on or near the cathedral.
In June 1504, David was installed next to the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio, replacing Donatello's bronze sculpture of Judith and Holofernes, which embodied a comparable theme of heroic resistance. It took four days to move the statue the half mile from Michelangelo's workshop into the Piazza della Signoria; that summer the sling and tree-stump support were gilded, the figure was given a gilded loin-garland. In 1873, the statue of David was removed from the piazza, to protect it from damage, displayed in the Accademia Gallery, where it attracted many visitors. A replica was placed in the Piazza della Signoria in 1910. In 1991 Piero Cannata, an artist who the police described as deranged, attacked the statue with a hammer he had concealed beneath his jacket, he said that a 16th century Venetian painter's model ordered him to do so. Cannata was restrained. On 12 November 2010, a fiberglass replica of the David was installed on the roofline of Florence Cathedral, for one day only. Photographs of the installation reveal the statue the way the Operai who commissioned the work expected it to be seen.
In 2010, a dispute over the ownership of David arose when, based on a legal review of historical documents, the municipality of Florence claimed ownership of the statue in opposition to the Italian Culture Ministry, which disputes the munic
The Cupid was a sculpture created by Renaissance artist Michelangelo, which he artificially aged to make it look like an antique on the advice of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco. It was this sculpture; the work is now lost. In 1496, Michelangelo made a sleeping cupid figure and treated it with acidic earth to make it seem ancient, he sold it to a dealer, Baldassare del Milanese, who in turn sold it to Cardinal Riario of San Giorgio who learned of the fraud and demanded his money back. However, Michelangelo was permitted to keep his share of the money; when Michelangelo offered to take the sculpture back from Baldassarre, the latter refused, saying he would rather destroy it. The Cupid was a significant work in establishing the reputation of the young Michelangelo, about 20 years old at the time; the sculpture was donated by Cesare Borgia to Isabella d'Este, was collected by Charles I of England when all the Gonzaga collections were bought and taken to London in the seventeenth century. In 1698, the Cupid was destroyed in the great fire in the Palace of Whitehall, London.
Another sculpture of Cupid, in a standing position, was created for Riario's banker, Jacopo Galli
Ulisse Aldrovandi was an Italian naturalist, the moving force behind Bologna's botanical garden, one of the first in Europe. Carl Linnaeus and the comte de Buffon reckoned him the father of natural history studies, he is referred to in older literature, as Aldrovandus. Aldrovandi was born in Bologna to his wife, a noble but poor family, his father was a lawyer, Secretary to the Senate of Bologna, but died when Ulisse was seven years old. However, when Pope Gregory XIII, a member of Ulisse's mother's family was elected in 1570, the family's fortune improved, his widowed mother wanted him to become a jurist. He was sent to apprentice with merchants as a scribe for a short time when he was 14 years old, but he found his vocation, after studying mathematics, Latin and philosophy at the university of Bologna, in Padua in 1545 and becoming a notary, his interests successively extended to philosophy and logic, which he combined with the study of medicine. In June 1549, Aldrovandi was accused and arrested for heresy on account of his espousing of the anti-trinitarian beliefs of the Anabaptist Camillo Renato.
By September, he had published an abjuration, but was transferred to Rome, remained in custody or house arrest until absolved in April, 1550. During this time, he befriended many local scholars. While in light captivity there, he became more and more interested in botany and geology. From 1551 onward, he organized a variety of expeditions to the Italian mountains, countryside and coasts to collect and catalogue plants, he obtained a degree in medicine and philosophy in 1553 and started teaching logic and philosophy in 1554 at the University of Bologna. In 1559, he became professor of philosophy and in 1561 he became the first professor of natural sciences at Bologna. Aldrovandi was a friend of Francesco de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, visiting his garden at Pratolino and travelling with him, compiling a list of the most valuable plants at Pratolino, he formed fruitful associations with botanical artists such as Jacopo Ligozzi, to further develop illustrated texts. He died in Bologna on 4 May 1605, at the age of 82.
Over the course of his life, he would assemble one of the most spectacular cabinets of curiosities: his "theatre" illuminating natural history comprising some 7000 specimens of the diversità di cose naturali, of which he wrote a description in 1595. Between 1551 and 1554, he organized several expeditions to collect plants for a herbarium, among the first botanizing expeditions, his herbarium contained about 4760 dried specimens on 4117 sheets in sixteen volumes, preserved at the University of Bologna. He had various artists including Jacopo Ligozzi, Giovanni Neri, Cornelio Schwindt, compose illustrations of specimens. At his demand and under his direction, a public botanic garden was created in Bologna in 1568, now the Orto Botanico dell'Università di Bologna. Due to a dispute on the composition of a popular medicine with the pharmacists and doctors of Bologna in 1575, he was suspended from all public positions for five years. In 1577, he sought the aid of pope Gregory XIII, who wrote to the authorities of Bologna to reinstate Aldrovandi in his public offices and request financial aid to help him publish his books.
His vast collections in botany and zoology he willed to the Senate of Bologna. In 1907 a representative part were reunited at Palazzo Poggi, where the 400th anniversary of his death was memorialized in a celebrative exhibition in 2005, he was the first to have extensively documented the neurofibromatosis disease, a type of skin tumour. However, it has been observed that in a work by Andrea Mantegna's, this type of disease had been pictured 80 years earlier than in Androvandi's work. Of the several hundred books and essays he wrote, only a handful were published during his lifetime: Antidotarii Bononiensis, siue de vsitata ratione componendorum, miscendorumque medicamentorum, epitome Ornithologiae hoc est de avibus historiae libri XII 1637 edition Ornithologiae tomus alter cum indice copiosissimo De animalibus insectis libri septem, cum singulorum iconibus ad viuum expressis 1637 edition Ornithologiae tomus tertius, ac postremus 1637 edition De reliquis animalibus exanguibus libri quatuor De piscibus libri V, et De cetis lib. vnus Quadrupedum omnium bisulcorum historia Serpentum, et draconum Monstrorum historia cum Paralipomenis historiae omnium animalium – digital edition by the University and State Library Düsseldorf Musaeum metallicum in libros IV distributum Bartholomaeus Ambrosinus Dendrologiae naturalis scilicet arborum historiae libri duo sylua glandaria, acinosumq.
Observationes Variae Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, Ms. 136, XI folio 73 The wrinkle ridge Dorsa Aldrovandi on the Moon is named after him. The Civico Orto Botanico "Ulisse Aldrovandi" in San Giovanni in Persiceto is named in his honor; the plant genus. Aldrovandi's Cats De Avibus Historiae AMS Historica – Ulisse Aldrovandi – University of Bologna Homepage of the Aldrovandi museum
The statue of an Angel was created by Michelangelo out of marble. Its height is 51.5 cm. It is situated in the Basilica of Bologna. Basilica of San Domenico St. Proclus St. Petronius
The Medici Chapels are two structures at the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Italy, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, built as extensions to Brunelleschi's 15th-century church, with the purpose of celebrating the Medici family, patrons of the church and Grand Dukes of Tuscany. The Sagrestia Nuova was designed by Michelangelo; the larger Cappella dei Principi, though proposed in the 16th century, was not begun until the early 17th century, its design being a collaboration between the family and architects. The Sagrestia Nuova was intended by Cardinal Giulio de' Medici and his cousin Pope Leo X as a mausoleum or mortuary chapel for members of the Medici family, it balances Brunelleschi's Sagrestia Vecchia, the "Old Sacristy" nestled between the left transept of San Lorenzo, with which it consciously competes, shares its format of a cubical space surmounted by a dome, of gray pietra serena and whitewashed walls. It was the first essay in architecture of Michelangelo, who designed its monuments dedicated to certain members of the Medici family, with sculptural figures of the four times of day that were destined to influence sculptural figures reclining on architraves for many generations to come.
The Sagrestia Nuova was entered by a discreet entrance in a corner of San Lorenzo's right transept, now closed. Though it was vaulted over by 1524, the ambitious projects of its sculpture and the intervention of events, such as the temporary exile of the Medici, the death of Giulio, now Pope Clement VII and the permanent departure of Michelangelo for Rome in 1534, meant that Michelangelo never finished it. Though most of the statues had been carved by the time of Michelangelo's departure, they had not been put in place, being left in disarray across the chapel, installed by Niccolò Tribolo in 1545. By order of Cosimo I, Giorgio Vasari and Bartolomeo Ammannati finished the work by 1555. There were intended to be four Medici tombs, but those of Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother Giuliano were never begun; the result is that the two magnificent existing tombs are those of comparatively insignificant Medici: Lorenzo di Piero, Duke of Urbino and Giuliano di Lorenzo, Duke of Nemours. Their architectural components are similar.
On an unfinished wall, Michelangelo's Madonna and Child flanked by the Medici patron saints Cosmas and Damian, executed by Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli and Raffaello da Montelupo to Michelangelo's models, are set over their plain rectangular tomb. In a statement in the Michelangelo's biography published in 1553 by his disciple, Ascanio Condivi, based on Michelangelo own recollections, Condivi gives the following description: "The statues are four in number, placed in a sacristy... the sarcophagi are placed before the side walls, on the lids of each there recline two big figures, larger than life, to wit, a man and a woman. A concealed corridor with drawings on the walls by Michelangelo was discovered under the New Sacristy in 1976; the octagonal Cappella dei Principi surmounted by a tall dome, 59 m. high, is the distinguishing feature of San Lorenzo when seen from a distance. It is on the same axis as the nave and chancel to which it provides the equivalent of an apsidal chapel, its entrance is from the exterior, in Piazza Madonna degli Aldobrandini, through the low vaulted crypt planned by Bernardo Buontalenti before plans for the chapel above were made.
The opulent Cappella dei Principi, an idea formulated by Cosimo I, was put into effect by Ferdinand I de' Medici. It was designed by Matteo Nigetti, following some sketches tendered to an informal competition of 1602 by Don Giovanni de' Medici, the natural son of Cosimo I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, which were altered in the execution by the aged Buontalenti. A true expression of court art, it was the result of collaboration among patrons. For the execution of its astonishing revetment of marbles inlaid with colored marbles and semi-precious stone, the Grand Ducal hardstone workshop, the Opificio delle Pietre Dure was established; the art of commessi, as it was called in Florence, assembled jig-sawn fragments of specimen stones to form the designs of the revetment that cover the walls. The result was disapproved of by 18th- and 19th-century visitors, but has come to be appreciated for an example of the taste of its time. Six grand sarcophagi are empty. In sixteen compartments of the dado are coats-of-arms of Tuscan cities under Medici control.
In the niches that were intended to hold portrait sculptures of Medici, two were executed by Pietro Tacca. The lantern at the top of the Medici Chapel is made out of marble and has an "...unusual polyhedron mounted on the peak of the conical roof". The orb, on top of the lantern has seventy-two facets and is about two feet in diameter; the orb and cross, on top of the orb, are traditional symbols of the Roman and Christian power, recalls the similar orbs on central dome plan churches like St. Maria del Fiore and St. Peter's, but because it is on a private mausoleum, the Medici family is promoting their own personal power with the orb and cross, laurel wreath and lion heads, which are all symbols of status and power. The lantern that holds up the orb helps to accentuate the