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Art in Florence

Art in Florence

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Florence originated and developed as a microcosm. Any "citta d'arte" may claim in some way to be a world unto itself. But of this autonomy, this capacity to enclose within its walls everything necessary, every kind of knowledge, every beauty, Florence has been the supreme master - despite an unfavorable site, narrowed in by hills on either side of the Arno, with an unpleasant climate, cold in winter, hot and humid in summer; of this even a painter such as Filippo Lippi had complained in the 15th century, imploring his patron Cosimo the Elder to send him to stay in the country, since it was so hot in the city that he was unable to work. "Florentia bella" possesses seven things, the most important that a city should have, proudly wrote, near the end of the 15th century, the merchant Benedetto Dei, a diplomat for the Signoria who had seen many other worlds. Florence has "whole freedom", and "a great number of rich, well-dressed people" and "a river of sweet water" and "the lordship of castles and lands and peoples" and still more, it has the "Studio" where "Greek and the abacus" and "every art whole and perfect" are taught, and then the "banks".