History Origins-1399 | 1400-1499 | 1500-1699 | Since 1700

The History of Florence in Italy: Origins to 1399

The first thing striking about Florence's history is the instability of the city almost throughout its history.

They were only repeated wars with neighbouring cities, conquered, lost, and retaken.

At the political level, things are no easier: conspiracies foiled, popular uprisings, murders, exiles; the list is long and impressive.

And yet, amid these troubled times, a family will succeed in maintaining power despite intrigues and jealousy.

A family that marked Florence forever: The Medici.

A family that will also influence even in France with Catherine and Marie de Medici.

But what we are left with essentially of them is art, the love of art, the beauty of Florence and the flourishing, thanks to characters who were ahead of their time like Cosimo I the Elder, of Florentine artists who revolutionized art in Europe by creating masterpieces that can still be admired from the other side of the world.

Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello and many others were able to flourish in Florence thanks to the moral and financial support of the Medici.

The main dates in the history of Florence in Italy
Origins in 1399

Neolithic era: First traces of Ligurian habitats in the place where Florence is today.

End of the 10th century BC: The florentine territory was occupied by Italian inhabitants until the beginning of the 8th century BC, when these populations were replaced by the Etruscans. They then founded Fiesole (currently north of Florence).

59 BC: Founding of the Roman colony of Florentia.

2nd century: Roman expansion of Florence and construction of an aqueduct, an amphitheatre, bathhouse and a theatre.

4th century: The churches of San Lorenzo and San Felicita were built outside the city of Florence.

406: Florence is besieged by the Goths and is liberated by Stilicon.

End of the 5th century: The Ostrogoths, led by Theodoric, controlled Tuscia and Florence.

553: The Byzantine general, Narses, takes possession of Florence.

Around 569: Firenze became a duchy's capital during the Lombards' reign.

774: Florence and Tuscia come under the control of the Carolingians. Lucca (Lucca) became the capital of the duchy.

897: Historical note concerning the baptistery of Saint John (San Giovanni).

978: Badia Fiorentina is founded.

1048: Badia Vallombrosana is founded.

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1055: Emperor Henry III is in Florence, and Pope Victor II holds a council there.

1059: The church of San Lorenzo is rebuilt.

1078: Countess Mathilde starts the construction of a new defensive wall around the city, called “Ancient Dante”.

1082: Emperor Henry IV besieges Florence, but without success.

1107: Start of the conquest of the territories around Florence by the Florentines. The capture of the city of Prato.

July 24, 1115: Death of Countess Mathilde and the start of communal autonomy for Florence.

1125: Conquest of the city of Fiesole.

1185: Great fire, the Ponte Vecchio bridge is heavily damaged.

1207: The Council of Florence is replaced by the Podestà, an official who is traditionally a non-Florentine.

1216: Start dividing the leading Florentine families into opposing clans, the Guelphs and the Ghibellini (Guelfi and Ghibellini).

1229-1235: War between Florence and Pisa.

1248: Exile of the Guelphs from Florence after the arrival of the son of Emperor Frederick II, Frederick of Antioch.

1251: In January, the Guelphs are allowed to return to Florence, but in July, some related families are, in turn, forced into exile. The Guelphs supported the birth of the quasi-democratic government of Primo Popolo, based on the merchant class.

1252: The Florin d'Or is minted for the first time with the symbols of the Fleur de Lys and Saint Jean (San Giovanni).

1255: Construction of the Bargello, the palace of the People's Captain, begins.

1258: The Ghibellines are driven out of Florence, and the houses of the Uberti family are destroyed.

September 4, 1260: At the Battle of Montaperti in the province of Siena, the Florentines allied with the Guelphs of Lucca (Lucca) and clashed with the Sienese, who won the battle. The defeat was bloody, with more than 10,600 deaths.

1261-1265: The Ghibellines dominate Florence.

1265: Dante Alighieri is born.

1266: Exile of the Ghibellines and the return of the Guelphs.

1267: For 7 years, the Florentines gave their city to Charles I of Anjou, king of Sicily and son of King Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castille. The city of Florence became a Guelph citadel.

1268: Victory of Florence against Pisa.

1269: Victory against Siena and the Ghibelline forces.

October 18, 1278: The Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella construction begins.

January 1280: Peace between the Ghibellines and the Guelfs.

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1282: Start of the Arti government (artisan guilds) with the election of three priors, Calimala (Corporation of Garment Merchants), Cambiatori (Exchange Corporation), and Lana (Wool Corporation). To which will be added seven other priors, Médecin et Épices (Medici and Speziali), Soie (Seta), Tanneurs and Pelletiers (Vaiai and Pellicciai).

1284 to 1333: Construction of a new defensive enclosure representing an area of more than 500 hectares.

1289: Victory of Florence over the City of Arezzo at the Battle of Campaldino. Among the fighters was the young Dante Alighieri, then aged 24.

1293: Beginning of the Secondo Popolo government.

1294: Decisions concerning constructing a new cathedral and communal palace would become the Signoria Palace.

1295: Construction of the Franciscan church of Santa Croce.

September 8, 1296: Blessing of the first stone of the new Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

1299: Start of work on the new Palace of the Commune.

1300: The Guelphs of Florence split between whites and blacks. On June 15, Dante Alighieri was elected Prior.

November 1, 1301: Charles de Valois enters Florence as a mediator for Pope Boniface VIII. But peace mediation between white and black Guelphs is, in fact, only in favour of blacks who subsequently obtain all government posts.

1302: The White Guelphs, including Dante Alighieri, are expelled from Florence. It was during his exile that Dante wrote his Divine Comedy.

May 1, 1304: The Alla Carraia bridge collapsed under the weight of the crowd attending a parade on the Arno.

July 20, 1304: Birth in Arezzo, during the exile of the Ghibellines, of the poet Francesco Petrarch.

April 10, 1306: After a long siege, the Florentines lose the city of Pistoia.

1313: Birth of the writer Jean Boccacio (Giovanni Boccacio). The same year, the Florentines entrusted Signoria to Robert d'Anjou (son of Charles II of Anjou and Marie of Hungary).

1320-1325: The painter Giotto di Bondone creates the frescoes for the Peruzzi and Bardi chapels in the church of Santa Croce.

1321: Dante Alighieri dies in Ravenna.

1325: The Signoria of Florence is entrusted to Charles, Duke of Calabria and the eldest son of Robert of Anjou.

1330: War against Lucca (Lucca) which entrusts the Signoria of the city to Jean de Luxembourg, king of Bohemia.

1331: The Florentines obtained the Signoria of Pistoia.

November 1, 1331: Major floods in the Arno washed away Ponte Vecchio but also those of Santa Trinita and Alla Carraia. The city and its surroundings are suffering significant damage.

1334: Giotto di Bondone is appointed architect of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Florence's walls and fortifications. In the same year, Giotto started working on the Campanile construction.

1336: Decision to transform the city's granary into a church, the church of OrseanMichele.

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1337: Death of Giotto di Bondone.

1338: The city of Florence has just under 100,000 inhabitants.

September 8, 1342: Gautier VI of Brienne is permanently appointed head of La Signoria but was expelled the following year due to his atrocities.

1345: Reconstruction of the Ponte Vecchio, as it can still be seen today.

1346: Bankruptcy of the Commercial Companies of the Peruzzi and Bardi families. Great famine that lasted until the summer of 1347.

1348: Great epidemic of the Black Death in Florence, which loses half of its inhabitants. This sad event served as the background for Boccaccio's work, “Decamerone”, which he wrote from 1349 to 1351.

1349: The new painters of Florence form a partnership, the Company of San Luca.

1350: The Florentines occupy Prato.

1351: The Florentines take over Pistoia.

April 1, 1353: Peace of Sarzana between Florence and Giovanni Visconti, archbishop and Lord of Milan.

1355: Florence buys franchise and privileges from Charles IV for 100,000 guilders of gold.

1362-1364: War against Pisa and the success of the Florentines.

July 18, 1374: Death of Petrarch in Arquà.

December 21, 1375: Boccaccio died in Certaldo.

September 22, 1376: Construction of the Loggia de la Signoria begins.

1377 or 1378: Filippo Brunelleschi is born.

1378: Revolt of the Ciopmi, the poorest craftsmen in wool work. After the riots, they were allowed to participate in the government of Florence. Repression by the dominant Albizzi and Alberti families followed in 1382.

1378: Birth of Lorenzon Ghiberti.

1384: Florence buys the city of Arezzo.

1386: Birth of Donato di Niccolò di Betto, better known as Donatello.

1392: Florence joined forces with Pope Boniface IX, Pisa, Bologna, the Estensi, the Gonzaga, and the Manfredi against the expansionism of the Visconti.

March 16, 1394: Giovanni Acuto, captain of the Florentines, died.

History Origins-1399 | 1400-1499 | 1500-1699 | Since 1700

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