Historic Centre of Florence is UNESCO World Heritage
June 10, 2012 Leave a comment
Built on the site of an Etruscan settlement, Florence, the symbol of the Renaissance, rose to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the Medici in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its 600 years of extraordinary artistic activity can be seen above all in the 13th-century cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore), the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace, the work of great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo.
Starting in the 15th century, Florence exerted a powerful influence on the development of architecture and the monumental arts, first in Italy, and then throughout Europe. The historic centre attests in an exceptional manner, and by its unique coherence, to its power as a merchant-city of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Between the 14th and 17th centuries it was covered with prestigious buildings which illustrated the munificence of the bankers and princes.
The historic centre may be admirably viewed in its entirety from the surrounding hills, especially Piazzale Michelangelo (just under the Romanesque Basilica of San Miniato), or Fiesole, both of which offer some of the most spectacular views in the Arno valley.
Built over the Roman city, the historic centre of Florence may best be described as a treasure chest of works of art and architecture. Defined by the 14th-century walls, and built up thanks to the enormous business and economic power which Florence achieved, the two succeeding centuries were Florence’s golden age. The spiritual focus of the city is the Cathedral Piazza of Santa Maria del Fiore, with Giotto’s campanile on one side and the Baptistry of St John in front, with the Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti.