The History of Florence Continues

2nd Oct 2014

For the past few weeks here on the DaLuca blog we have been spending weeks at a time not only investigating the history of the watchmaking world, but this week we have been looking at the history of the city of Florence, the birthplace of Officine Panerai.

We left off in the city of Florence shortly before the renaissance, and that is where we will pick back up.

Before the onset of the dreaded Black Death (or, “the plague” for us common folk) Florence was a city that consisted of around 80,000 residents. What is interesting about this is the fact that more than a fourth of said population relied on the city’s wool industry to scrounge out a living.

In the year 1378 these wool workers rose up in rebellion against the city’s oligarchic rule during the Revolt of the Ciompi. Eventually however, they were put down and effectively suppressed in their attempt.

Shortly after the woolworkers’ failed revolution a number of individuals took over running the city from behind the scenes. Warring families (notably the Albizzi and Medici families) played hot potato with the city’s rule with control bouncing between them on a regular basis. The Medici family was made up of bankers who worked for the pope, hence their undeniable influence. They as a family were great patrons of the arts of the time and commissioned works from everyone from Da Vinci to Michelangelo. Eventually the Medici family was ousted by Charles VIII of France, who conquered the city and re-established republican rule. The political structure of the city was in a constant state of flux at this period just as much as its rule was, and it made for a very hard and trying time within the city walls.

Things got quite grim for the average person during the Florentine renaissance. Angry and violent mobs were a common sight during these years and their influence over day to day life was not something to be scoffed at. Moreso, like the powerful families ruling the city, the commoners were at each other’s throats in a constant struggle for power and influence. Things were cutthroat to put it lightly. Political double-crossings and blatant back stabbings were regular occurrences and oftentimes they were occurring within families. Brother was turning on brother and so on.

Despite the chaotic whirling of political spite and deception. Despite the bubbling violence. Despite the factionalism and blatant corruption citywide Florence did experiment with many different varieties of citizen government and power sharing arrangements during this time period.

Stay tuned throughout the weekend where we will wrap up our historical wanderings through the beautiful and rich city that Panerai calls home. Until the rest of those articles come to fruition, why not go back and read some of our archived articles or take a look at our quality goods in our shop?