The Early Modern World, C. 1300–1600

Early Renaissance in Italy

Why was Florence an important Renaissance city?

The Renaissance is said to have begun in Florence in the fifteenth century, a period known as the Quattrocentro. At this time, Florence was not just a city, but a city-state, much like the city-states of ancient Greece. Fifteenth-century Florence was also a Republic with a constitution (though it was a far cry from a democracy). Florence was an economic powerhouse with a lot of civic pride. Money was pumped into civic projects such as cathedral building, architectural decoration, and artist competitions, all in an attempt to beautify the city and enjoy the pleasures of wealth. Florentine patrons supported the careers of important artists such as Masaccio, Donatello, and Ghiberti, whose innovative work kick-started the Renaissance.


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