Florence (Ital. Firenze). I. A province of central Italy, included in Tuscany, bordering on Modena, Bologna, Ravenna, Forli, Pesaro ed. Urbino, Arezzo, Siena, Pisa, and Lucca; area, 2,263 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 760,326. It comprises the four districts of Florence, Pis-toja, Rocca San Casciano, and San Miniato. The principal chain of the central Apennines traverses the E. part of the province. Other detached mountains extend into the E. and S. parts. The remainder is partly hilly and partly level. The principal river is the Arno, which receives a considerable number of affluents. Agriculture is flourishing in the numerous valleys, and the wine in the vicinity of the city of Florence is the best of Tuscany. Other branches of industry are cattle breeding, the cultivation of the olive, fishing, and mining.
II. A city, capital of the province and formerly of the grand duchy of Tuseany, in lat, 43° 46' 36" N., Ion. 11° 15' 30" E., 194 m. S. E. of Turin, 140 m. N. N. W. of Rome, and 250 m. N. N. W. of Naples; pop. in 1872, 167,093. Of late the area of the city has been considerably increased by the extension of the suburbs, and while Florence was the capital of Italy (1865-'71) the population is believed to have considerably exceeded 200,000; but since the transfer of the seat of government to Rome it has rapidly decreased. The city lies in a beautiful, well wooded, well cultivated valley, surrounded by the Apennines. It was encircled by an old wall 5 or 6 m. long, with 8 gates, but the wall was demolished in 1873. The river Arno flows through it, the larger part of the city being on the right or N. bank. The river within the city is crossed by four fine stone bridges, of which the most noted is the Ponte di Santa Trinita, built in 15f>6-'70. It is adorned with statues, is 323 ft, long, and the central arch has a span of 96 ft. This bridge is a favorite evening walk of the people. The Ponte Vec-chio is 75 ft. wide, and the carriageway in the middle is lined on each side by a row of shops, occupied chiefly by goldsmiths and jewellers. There are also two suspension bridges.
In the older parts of the city the streets are narrow and irregular, and the houses for the most part meanly built; but the newer and larger portions are very handsome and stately, and the streets wider than is common in the cities of southern Europe, and solidly paved with blocks of stone. The churches of Florence are 172 in number, and many of them of great size and antiquity; but few are completely finished, and their general appearance is neither elegant nor picturesque. The Duomo, or cathedral church of Santa Maria del Fiore, is a vast and superb structure, which is surpassed in architectural grandeur only by St. Peter's at Rome. The decree for its erection was issued in 1294, and its foundations were laid in 1298; the great dome was erected by Brunelleschi in the 15th century, but the facade was not completed till the middle of the 17th. The length of the building is nearly 500 ft., and of the united tran-septs 306 ft.; its height from the pavement to the summit of the cross is 387 ft.; the height of the nave is 153 ft., and of the side aisles 96 1/2 ft., and the width of the nave and aisles is 128 ft.
The exterior of the church is covered throughout with red, white, and black marble, disposed in panels and variegated figures; and the pavement is also of many-colored marble, much of which was laid under the direction of Michel Angelo. The dome of this cathedral is the largest in the world, its circumference being greater than that of the dome of St.
General View of Florence.
Peter's, and its comparative height greater, though its base is not placed so high above the ground. It excited the admiration of Michel Angelo, to whom it served as a model for the dome of St. Peters. This church is richly adorned with statues and pictures, most of which are by eminent masters. Among the statues is an unfinished group by Michel Angelo, representing the entombment of Christ. Among the paintings is a portrait of Dante, ex-cuted in 1465. Near the cathedral stands the campanile or belfry, which was designed by Giotto, and begun in 1334. It is a square tower, 270 ft. high, light and elegant, in the Italian-Gothic style, and divided into four lofty stories. Charles V. used to say that it deserved to be kept in a glass case. The lower story contains two ranges of tablets, designed by Giotto and executed by him and by Andrea Pisano and Luca della Robbia. Opposite the principal front of the cathedral stands the baptistery, whose three great bronze portals, adorned with bass reliefs by Andrea and Ghiberti Pisano, were declared by Michel Angelo worthy to be the gates of Paradise. The church of San Lorenzo has attached to it a sacristy which contains seven statues by Michel Angelo. Adjoining the same church is the costly Medicean chapel, begun in 1004 by Ferdinand I., grand duke of Tuscany, as the mausoleum of his family, on which, it is said, $17,000,000 have been expended.
It is an octagon 94 ft. in diameter and 200 ft. high, and is lined throughout with lapis lazuli, jasper, onyx, and other precious stones. The church of Santa Croce, 460 ft. long and 134 ft. wide, whose foundation stone was laid in 1294, is the Pantheon or Westminster abbey of Florence. It contains the tombs of Michel Angelo, Machiavelli, Galileo, Leonardo Aretino, Guicciardini, Alfieri, Ugo Foscolo (since June 24, 1871), and of many other illustrious men. Florence abounds in palaces of a singularly solid, heavy style of architecture, resembling prisons or fortresses. They were built in ages of turbulence and civil strife, for defence and security rather than for display or luxury. Their great size and height, the rough massiveness of their lower stories, and the huge cornices frowning over their fronts, give them a very impressive appearance. The two principal palaces, the Palazzo Vec-chio and the Palazzo Pitti, contain celebrated collections of works of art. The gallery in the Palazzo Vecchio exhibits portraits of many celebrated Florentines, from Cosmo il Vecchio (died in 1464) to Cosmo the first grand duke (died 1574). The Pitti gallery, which is very rich and extensive, contains many of the best works of Michel Angelo, Titian, Salvator Rosa, Andrea del Sarto, Murillo, Rubens, and several of Raphael's, including the celebrated "Madonna della Seggiola." The gallery in the Uffizi is considered one of the choicest and most varied in Europe. It displays in the picture halls a historical series of the Tuscan and Venetian schools, arranged chronologically, and exhibiting the finest specimens of the Italian masters.