By Franco Cardini
L'autore ricerca i 'caratteri originali' della grande città d'arte attraverso un viaggio nel suo passato, dalle origini ai tempi della florentina libertas, dai fasti del Principato mediceo e asburgo-lorenese, consistent with giungere alla Firenze del XX secolo con i suoi problemi e le sue crisi, ma anche con l. a. sua carica inventiva e los angeles sua spinta al rinnovamento. Il volumea ha lo scopo di cogliere in pochi, forti tratti della città, di rivisitare il passato alla luce del presente according to comprendere i caratteri originali.
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Extra info for A Short History of Florence
The importation of stuffs and dyes, and the processing of textiles, admitted Florence to the trade circuits of Europe and the Mediterranean, but her trade nevertheless was dependent on access to ports, enabling her to receive raw materials and other goods and send out her finished products to foreign markets. As road transport was difficult, the Arno and therefore the port of Pisa were of the first importance to Florentines. When, round about 1171, Pisa, in difficulty with Genoa and the Emperor, asked for help, Florence did not miss her opportunity: she did give military assistance - which cost her a long war against Lucca and Siena, who had allied themselves to the other side - but it was in exchange for substantial recompense in the shape of a share in the profits of the Pisan mint (and from that time the silver currency of Pisa became the Florentine currency too), the concession of favourable conditions for the transport of goods and of Florentine merchants on Pisan ships and for the payment of tolls in Pisan territory, and the availability of anchorage to Florentine merchandise in that prestigious port The city’s wealth increased in every direction; and so did the population, because the prospect of making money in the city attracted people from the rest of the county.
A third circle of walls was now built, replacing the original Roman circle and the later, smaller, Byzantine one: it covered, more or less, the lines of the Roman walls and took in the residential districts which had grown up in the area south of the north side of the old quadrangle. Florence now looked as if she had grown by an area more or less corresponding to a sort of scalene triangle which, starting from the north gate (where the Via Cassia, leaving Ponte Vecchio, entered the city) had as vertices the area of the theatre and the present-day Piazza de’ Giudici, until it reached the river port.
In the quarternarian era that plain was filled by a lake, one of the many which were scattered all over Tuscany until they were drained in the eighteenth-century; when the waters of the lake withdrew, they left the place a barren wasteland of stagnant pools and swamps. There are still traces of them, especially to the north-west, between Sesto, Campi Bisenzio and Signa; or to the south-east, in the area of Ripoli and the old “Bisarno”, where a few place names recall the “blades”, the strips of stagnant water where it was once easy to hunt, fish and catch malaria.
A Short History of Florence by Franco Cardini