5. Renaissance Florence
Florence is known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. This was the city that gave the impetus to the movement that marked the transition from the Middle Ages to modern times. Members of the powerful Medici family, who ruled Florence for more than 60 years, were strong supporters of this movement, which came at a time when Florence remained economically strong. But why was the Renaissance so important? The fact is that this period of history, generally described as the period between the 14th and 17th centuries, brought about a drastic change in the world of art, science, knowledge and culture. As the name suggests – Renaissance is a French word meaning rebirth – this period helped change people’s way of thinking and bring classical learning, philosophy and knowledge back into the spotlight with the flowering of culture, art, literature, politics and economics. It saw a rebirth of ancient classical Roman ideas – one of the reasons why the Renaissance started in Italy, the cradle of the Roman Empire. At that time, Florence reached its cultural peak and great works of inestimable value were created, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” or Michelangelo’s “David” (which can be seen in Florence). With this artistic, cultural and intellectual awakening, several other names, besides Da Vinci and Michelangelo, joined the movement and gained a popularity that still remains today, across different artistic fields, such as Dante Alighieri, Galileo, Machiavelli, Botticelli and Donatello. Although this movement began in Florence, it quickly spread throughout Italy, and later throughout Europe. Even today you can admire numerous works of art from this period, such as the dome of Florence Cathedral, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, or Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”.