Unlike what you might think, Florence is not just a city. Its history is not just history, it’s so much more than that. So without further ado, let’s dive into the deeper unknown of Florence.
The Italian Renaissance
Unfortunately for about a third of the 14th century population, the Black Death arrived. But however gruesome this seems, the plague actually made things better for the remaining people as they had better genes, more food and more land and went on to earn more money. This means they also had more means to buy luxurious items. In the time that followed, Florence rose and became an important and wealthy city; and become the home town of the European Renaissance. The Florentine people laid down the groundwork for capitalism and banking and its artists and poets inspired the rest of Italy before inspiring the rest of the world.
Historians are uncertain why the Renaissance started in Florence and not elsewhere. Some say it was because of the influential and wealthy Medici family, some say it was because of the people born there, Botticelli, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, so it may have been sheer luck. Some say those men were only able to become great because of the situation. All we know for sure is that Europe would not be what it is today if not for the Italian Renaissance so thanks for that guys!
Over the course of centuries, many different dialects appeared. Problem was that the books and plays and other written affairs were written in the dialect of the place they were written in; some of these documents dating back to the 10th century.
When Florence began to grow into a city worth mentioning abroad, its dialect, the Tuscan dialect, began to dominate. Linguists believe this was because of the central position of Tuscany in Italy and the importance of Florence’s commerce. Moreover, it may have something to do with the fact that the Tuscany dialect has more Latin roots than other dialects, which is in harmony with the Latin heritage in the Italian culture.
In time a problem appeared: the Questione della Lingua. Out of all these dialects, which one should be spoken in the Italian peninsula? As the press became widespread, the need for a national language grew and two options appeared: the Venetian dialect, with its capital Venice being the European capital of publishing and Tuscan, with Florence, city of influential writers like Dante. In the mid 16th century, Pietro Bembo published his book “Prose of the volgar language” in which he proposed 14th century Tuscan as a national language. Over time, it became the model on which Italian was founded.
In the 19th century, the Tuscan language had spread wide enough among scholars and when the unification of Italy made schooling mandatory, many dialect-speakers adopted the national language, which is the Italian we know today.