venerdì 28 maggio 2010
Architecture in Florence
Florence is known as the “cradle of the Renaissance” (la culla del Rinascimento) for its monuments, churches and buildings. The best-known site and crowning architectural jewel of Florence is the domed cathedral of the city, Santa Maria del Fiore, known as The Duomo. The magnificent dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi. The nearby Campanile (partly designed by Giotto) and the Baptistery buildings are also highlights. Both the dome itself and the campanile are open to tourists and offer excellent views; The dome, 600 years after its completion, is still the largest dome built in brick and mortar in the world.
In 1982, the historic centre of Florence (Italian: centro storico di Firenze) was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO for the importance of its cultural heritages. The centre of the city is contained in medieval walls that were built in the fourteenth century to defend the city after it became famous and important for its economic growth.
At the heart of the city, in Piazza della Signoria, is Bartolomeo Ammanati's Fountain of Neptune (1563–1565), which is a masterpiece of marble sculpture at the terminus of a still-functioning Roman aqueduct.
The River Arno, which cuts through the old part of the city, is as much a character in Florentine history as many of the people who lived there. Historically, the locals have had a love-hate relationship with the Arno — which alternated between nourishing the city with commerce, and destroying it by flood.
One of the bridges in particular stands out as being unique — The Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), whose most striking feature is the multitude of shops built upon its edges, held up by stilts. The bridge also carries Vasari's elevated corridor linking the Uffizi to the Medici residence (Palazzo Pitti). Although the original bridge was constructed by the Etruscans, the current bridge was rebuilt in the 14th century. It is the only bridge in the city to have survived World War II intact.
The church of San Lorenzo contains the Medici Chapel, the mausoleum of the Medici family – the most powerful family in Florence from the 15th to the 18th century. Nearby is the Uffizi Gallery, one of the finest art museums in the world – founded on a large bequest from the last member of the Medici family.
The Uffizi itself is located at the corner of Piazza della Signoria, a site important for being the centre of Florence's civil life and government for centuries. (Signoria Palace is still home of the community government.) The Loggia dei Lanzi provided the setting for all the public ceremonies of the republican government. Many significant episodes in the history of art and political changes were staged here, such as:
- In 1301, Dante was sent into exile from here (commemorated by a plaque on one of the walls of the Uffizi).
- On 26 April 1478, Jacopo de'Pazzi and his retainers tried to raise the city against the Medici after the plot known as The congiura dei Pazzi (The Pazzi conspiracy), murdering Giuliano di Piero de' Medici and wounding his brother Lorenzo. All the members of the plot who could be apprehended were seized by the Florentines and hanged from the windows of the palace.
- In 1497, it was the location of the Bonfire of the Vanities instigated by the Dominican friar and preacher Girolamo Savonarola
On 23 May 1498, the same Savonarola and two followers were hanged and burnt at the stake. (A round plate in the ground marks the spot where he was hanged)
- In 1504, Michelangelo's David (now replaced by a replica, since the original was moved indoors to the Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno) was installed in front of the Palazzo della Signoria (also known as Palazzo Vecchio).
The Piazza della Signoria is the location of a number of statues by other sculptors such as Donatello, Giambologna, Ammannati and Cellini, although some have been replaced with copies to preserve the priceless originals.
In addition to the Uffizi, Florence has other world-class museums. The Bargello concentrates on sculpture, containing many priceless works by sculptors including Donatello, Giambologna and Michelangelo. The Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno (often simply called the Accademia) collection's highlights are Michelangelo's David and his unfinished Slaves.
Across the Arno is the huge Palazzo Pitti, containing part of the Medici family's former private collection. In addition to the Medici collection, the palace's galleries contain many Renaissance works, including several by Raphael and Titian, large collections of costumes, ceremonial carriages, siver, porcelain and a gallery of modern art dating from the eighteenth century. Adjoining the palace are the Boboli Gardens, elaborately landscaped and with many interesting sculptures.
The Santa Croce basilica, originally a Franciscan foundation, contains the monumental tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Dante (actually a cenotaph), and many other notables.
Other important basilicas and churches in Florence include Santa Maria Novella, San Lorenzo, Santo Spirito and the Orsanmichele, and the Tempio Maggiore Great Synagogue of Florence.