It is so easy to fall in love with Florence. I did… the I first saw the Florence slide show in school, the first time I studied the Renaissance history, and when we visited Florence. Its history, arts, architecture, piazza, and cuisine have pulled us back a few more times.
Pope Boniface VIII (1235 – 1303) defined the five elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and the Florentines.
The Medici, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, to name a few, were all Florentines.
Raphael painted the School of Athens (1509 to 1511). He included da Vinci (was walking along with Aristotle) and Michelangelo (was sitting on the floor), and himself in the frescoes. More here. Photo source: Wikipedia.
The West saw its first opera performed, the first public library, the first public library opened, and the first nude sculptured since classical times.
It is the city itself—the city understood as a self; as a whole, a miraculously developed design. It is the city as what Italians call an insieme, an all-of-it-together. — RWB Lewis (1917- 2002, an American literary scholar and a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1976)
— Florence postcard
And, this is how Anotole France (1844 – 1924, a French poet, journalist, and novelist) described Florence:
“And God created heaven and earth while sitting,… The first day he painted Florence with one brush; during the six following days, all the rest of the world with another brush.”
“Powerful, too powerful to behold” told the story of how the David was transported to display: “… It arrived in the square on the 18th at noon; it took about forty men to move it, with fourteen beans underneath it to let it roll on, ….”