Between the birth of Dante in 1265 and the death of Galileo in 1642 something happened which transformed the entire culture of western civilisation. Painting, sculpture and architecture would all visibly change in such a striking fashion that there could be no going back on what had taken place. Likewise, the thought and self-conception of humanity would take on a completely new aspect. Sciences would be born, or emerge in an entirely new guise. The ideas which broke this mould largely began, and continued to flourish, in the city of Florence in the province of Tuscany in northern central Italy. These ideas, which placed an increasing emphasis on the development of our common humanity – rather than other-worldly spirituality – coalesced in what came to be known as humanism. Paul Strathern shows how Florence, and the Florentines, played a similar role in the Renaissance.
Between the birth of Dante in 1265 and the death of Galileo in 1642 something happened which completely revolutionized Western civilization. Painting, sculpture and architecture would all visibly change in a striking fashion. Likewise, the thought and self-conception of humanity would take on a completely different aspect. Sciences would be born – or emerge in an entirely new guise.In this sweeping 400-year history, Paul Strathern reveals how, and why, these new ideas which formed the Renaissance began, and flourished, in the city of Florence. Just as central and northern Germany gave birth to the Reformation, Britain was a driver of the Industrial Revolution and Silicon Valley shaped the digital age, so too, Strathern argues, did Florence play a similarly unique and transformative role in the Renaissance.While vividly bringing to life the city and a vast cast of characters – including Dante, Botticelli, Machiavelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Galileo – Strathern shows how these great Florentines forever altered Europe and the Western world.