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Florence Italy Florence History

Florence is a historical city in Tuscany, Northern Italy, one of the country’s most  picturesque provinces. It was founded by Romans in 59 BC and rapidly expanded to a significant trade and culture centre. It experienced Ostrogothic and Lombard rule, having become at about 1000 AD the capital of Tuscany. This period commences the golden age of Florentine art.

The city was one of the major trade centers, the bulk if its revenues coming from the wool and textile industry. It became the scene of the rivalry between two oligarchic families of the time, Albizzi and Medici, the later gaining control over the city till 1434. They were great patrons of arts, commissioning works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli. It was the time, when the most prominent edifices and works of art were created. The Renaissance in Florence acquired its own peculiar features and flourished longer, than in the rest of the country.

After the rule of Lorenzo Medici, one of the most prominent figures in the history of the city, the Dominican monk Girolamo Savonarola became prior of the San Marco monastery. He became extremely influential both for political reforms, carrying to a more democratic rule, and severe religious norms of behavior, imposed on the citizens. He gained almost entire control over the city, but was later accused in heresy and executed. Another prominent personality of that time was Niccolo Macchiavelli, an outstanding politician and philosopher, who preached the ideas of strong leadership and vindicated any means, helpful in achieving the goal. The Medici dynasty restored its power and during XV – XVII centuries was alternated by the periods of Republican rule, until became extinct in 1737.

In XVIII-XIX it temporarily fell under the rule of Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty, in 1861 was included in Italy together with the province of Tuscany.  Florence's population tripled in the 20th with the growth of tourism, trade, financial services and industry. During World War II the city experienced a year-long German occupation (1943-1944) and was declared an open city. Nowadays it is a major tourist and artistic centre, the centre of contemporary Italian literature.

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