FLORIN WEBSITE © JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAYAUREO ANELLO ASSOCIAZIONE, 1997-2017: MEDIEVAL: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, SWEET NEW STYLE: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, & GEOFFREY CHAUCER || VICTORIAN: WHITE SILENCE: FLORENCE'S 'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING || WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR || FRANCES TROLLOPE || ABOLITION OF SLAVERY || FLORENCE IN SEPIA  || CITY AND BOOK CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA MAZZEI' || EDITRICE AUREO ANELLO CATALOGUE || UMILTA WEBSITE || RINGOFGOLD WEBSITE || LINGUE/LANGUAGES: ITALIANO, ENGLISH || VITA
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: Dante vivo || White Silence



AUGUSTUS J.C. HARE

FLORENCE


The small Victorian/Edwardian travel book in its black and red covers with gold letters begins with a map of Florence, shown here portrait rather than landscape.

In 1896, this fourth edition of Augustus Hare's work, titled Florence, with map and twenty-two woodcuts, published by George Allen, 156, Charing Cross Road, London, cost 'Three Shillings'.

See also the book's Index, and its list of Works by Augustus J.C. Hare, with their contemporary reviews.


CONTENTS

CHAPTERS

I. GENERAL ASPECT

II. FROM THE SS. TRINITA' TO S. CROCE

II. APPENDIX: THE UFFIZI COLLECTION

III. THE NORTH-EASTERN QUARTER - OR S. MICHELE, THE CATHEDRAL AND BAPTISTERY, S. LORENZO, PALAZZO RICCARDI, S. MARCO, THE ACCADEMIA, THE ANNUNZIATA

IV. THIRD EXCURSION - THE NORTH-WESTERN QUARTER

V. FOURTH EXCURSION - OLTR'ARNO

VI. EXCURSIONS ROUND FLORENCE

VII. VALLOMBROSA AND THE CASENTINO

INDEX

WORKS BY AUGUSTUS J.C. HARE


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

FROM THE LOGGIA DE' LANZI

CASA DI DANTE, 1872

STAIRCASE OF THE BARGELLO

S. GEORGE OF DONATELLO

IL MERCATO VECCHIO

DIAVOLO DEL MERCATO VECCHIO

SAVONAROLA - S. MARCO

FANALE OF THE PALAZZO STROZZI

CROCE AL TREBBIO

MEETING OF SS. FRANCESCO AND DOMENICO

FROM THE LUNG'ARNO CORSINI

VIEW FROM THE BOBOLI GARDENS

LA MADONNA DELL'IMPRUNETA

BADIA DI SETTIMO

MALMANTILE

VALLOMBROSA

IN THE CASTLE OF POPPI

APPROACH TO LA VERNIA

THE GATE OF LA VERNIA

COURTYARD, LA VERNIA

CAMALDOLI
 

From Chapter II of Augustus J.C. Hare, Florence

From the Loggia de' Lanzi.

To those who have not been much abroad, it will be sufficient amusement to sit for a time in this beautiful Loggia, it if is only for the sake of watching the variations of the fluctuating crowd in the Piazza beneath. The predominance of males is striking. Hundreds of men stand here for hours, as if they had nothing else to do, talking ceaselessly in deep Tuscan tones. Many who are wrapped in long cloaks thrown over one shoulder and lined with green, look as if they had stepped out of the old pictures in the palace above.
Sitting here we should meditate on the various strange phases of Florentine history of which this Piazza has been the scene. Of these, the most remarkable were those connected with the story of Savonarola. First came those autos-da-fe for the destruction of worldly allurements, which followed upon his preaching: -

A pyramidal scaffold was erected opposte the palace of the Signory. At its base were to be seen false beards and hair, masquerading dresses, cards and dice, mirrors and perfumery, beads and trinkets of various sorts; higher up were arranged books and drawings, busts and portraits of the most celebrated Florentine beauties, and even pictures by great artists, condemned, in many instance on very insufficient grounds, as indecorous or irreligious.
Even Fra Bartolommeo was so carried away by the enthusiasm of the moment as to bring his life-academy studies to be consumed on this pyre, forgetful that, in the absence of such studies, he could never have risen above low mediocrity. Lorenzo di Credi, another and devoted follower of Savonarola, did the same. - Harford's Life of Michelangelo.

At the Carnival of 1498 there was a second auto-da-fe of precious things which had escaped the inquisitorial zeal of the boy censors. Burlamacci names marble busts of exquisite workmanship, some ancient, some of the well-known beauties of the day. There was a Petrarch, inlaid with gold, adorned with illuminations valued at fifty crowns; Boccaccios of such beauty and rarity as would drive modern bibliographists out of their surviving senses. The Signory looked on from a balcony; guards were stationed to prevent unholy thefts; as the fire soared there was a burst of chants, lauds and the Te Deum, to the sound of trumpets and the clanging of bells. Then another procession; and in the Piazza of San Marco dances of wilder extravagance; friars and clergymen and laymen of every age whirling round in fantastic reels, to the passionate and profanely sounding hymns of Jerome Beniviene. - Milman.

This Piazza also witness the great closing scene in the life of Savonarola and his two principal followers.
Three tribunals had been erected on the Ringhiera; the next to the door of the Palazzo was assigned to the Bishop of Vasona; the second on the right of the Bisho, to the Pope's commissioners; and the third, near the Marzocco, was occupied by the Gonfaloniere and the Magnificent Eight. A scaffold had been erected, which occupied about a fourth of the Piazza between the Ringhiera and the opposite Tetto dei Pisani. At the end of the scaffold a thick upright beam was fixed, having another beam near the top at right angles, which had been several times shortened to take away the appearance of a cross which its still retained. From this last beam hung three halters and three chains: by the first the the three friars were to be put to death, and the chains were to be wound round their dead bodies, which were to continue suspended while the fire consumed them. At the foot of the upright beam was a large heap of combustible materials, from which the soldiers of the Signory had some difficulty to keep off the mog, which pressed around like the waves of the sea.
When the three friars descended the stairs of the Palazzo, they were met by one of the Dominican friars of Santa Maria Novella, the bearer of an order to take off their gowns, and leave them with their undertunics only, their feet bare and their hands tied. Savonarola was much moved by this unexpected proceeding; but, taking courage, he held his gown in his hand, and before giving it up he said, 'Holy dress, how much I longed to wear thee! thou wast granted to me by the grace of God, and to this day I have kept thee spotless. I do not now leave thee, thou art taken from me'.
They were now led up to the first tribunal, and were placed before the Bishop of Vasona. He obeyed the orders he had received from the Pope, but appeared much distressed. Just before pronouncing their final degradation, he had takene hold of Savonarola's arm, but his voice faltered, and his self-possession so forsook him that, forgetting the usual form, in place of separating him solely from the Church militant, he said, 'I separate thee from the Church militant and triumphant', when Savonarola, without being in the least discomposed, corrected him, saying, 'Militant, not triumphant; your Church is not triumphant'. These words were pronounced with a firmness which vibrated through the minds of all the bystanders by whom they could be heard, and were for ever after remembmered.
Being thus degraded and unfrocked, they were delivered up to the secular arm, and by them taken before the apostolic commissioners, when they heard the sentence, declaring them to be schismatics and heretics. After this, Romolino, with cruel irony, absolved them from all their sins, and asked them if they accepted the absolution; to which they assented by an inclination of the head. Lastly, they came before the Magnificent Eight, who, in compliance with custom, put their sentence to the vote, which passed without a dissentient voice.
The friars them, with a firm step and perfect tranquillity, advanced to the place of execution. Even Fra Salvestro, at that last hour, had recovered his courage, and, in the presence of death, appeared to have returned to be a true and worthy disciple of the Frate. Savonarola himself exhibited a superhuman strength of mind, for hje never for a moment ceased to be in that calm state in which a Christian ought to die. While he and his companions were slowly led from the Ringhiera to the gibbet, their limbs sparsely covered by their tunics, with bare feet and pinioned arms, the most furious of the rabble were allowed to come near and insult them in the most vile and offensive language. They continued firm and undisturbed under tht severe martyrdom. One person, however, moved by compassion, came up and spoke words of comfort, to whom Savonarola with benignity replied, 'In the last hour God alone can bring comfort to mortal man'. A priest named Neretto said to him, 'In what frame of mind do you endure this martyrdom?' To which he replied, 'The Lord has suffered as much for me'. These were his last words.
In this universal state of perturbation around them, Fra Domenico remained perfectly composed. He was in such a state of exaltation that he could harly be restrained from chanting the Te Deum aloud; but, on the earnest entreaties of the Battuto Niccolini, who was by his side, he desisted, and said to him, 'Accompany me in a low voice' - and they then chanted the entire hymn. He afterwards said, 'Remember the prophecies of Savonarola must all be fulfilled, and that we die innocent'.
Fra Silvestro was the first who desired to ascend the ladder. After the halter was fixed around his neck, and just before the fatal thrust was given, he exclaimed, 'Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit!' Shortly afterwards the hangman wound the chain round his body, and went to the other side of the beam to execut Fra Domenico, who ascended the ladder with a quick step, with a countenance radiant with hope, almost with joy, as if he were going direct to heaven.
When Savonarola had seen the death of his two companions, he was directed to take the vacant place between them. He was so absorbed with the thought of the life to come, that he appeared to have already left the earth. But when he reached the upper part of the ladder, he could not abstain from looking round on the multitude below, every one of whom seemed to be impatient for his death. Oh, how different from those days when they hung upon his lips in a state of ecstasy in Santa Maria del Fiore! He saw at the foot of the beam some of the people with lighted torches in their hands, eager to light the fire. He then submitted his neck to the hangman.
There was, at that moment, silence - universal and terrible. A shudder of horro seemed to seize the multitude. One voice was heard crying out, 'Prophet, now is the time to perform a miracle!'
The executioner, thinking to please the populace, began to pass jokes upon the body before it had ceased to move, and in doing so nearly fell from the height. This disgusting scene moved the indignation and horror of all around, insomuch that the magistrates sent him a severe reprimand. He then showed an extraordinary degree of activity, hoping that the fire would reach the unhappy Friar before life was quite extinct; the chain, however, slipped from his hand, and while he was trying to retrieve it, Savonarola had drawn his last breath. It was at ten c'clock in the morning of the 23rd of May 1498. He died in the 45th year of his age.
The executioner had scarcely come down from the ladder when the piple was set on fire; a man who had been standing from an early hour with a lighted torch, and had set the wood on fire, called out, 'At length I am able to burn him who would have burned me'. A blast of wind diverted the flames for some time from the three bodies, upon which many fell back in terror, exclaiming, 'A miracle! A miracle!' But the wind soon ceased, the bodies of the three friars were enveloped in fire, and the people again closed round them. The flames had caught the cords by which the arms of Savonarola were pinioned, and the heat caused the hand to move; so that, in the eyes of the faithful, he seemed to raise his right hand in the midst of the mass of the flame to bless the people who were burning him. - Villari.


Death of Savonarola

La Piazza della Signoria col supplizio di Savonarola: Ignoto del XVI secolo.

For two centuries the place where Savonarola's scaffold had stood was strewn with flowers on the anniversary of his death; lamps were kept burning before his picture; scraps of his tunic, ashes from the fire, splinters of the cross, were treasured as relics; portraits were painted and medallions struck in his honour; and numerous apologies for his life were published in the face of the persecution of his enemies. Florence learned too late to regret the great champion of popular freedom when she fell again under the domination of the Medici, and Rome has well-nigh canonised the man whom Rodrigo Borgia burned before the Palazzo Vecchio in 1498. - Quarterly Review, July 1889.
The Palazzo Vecchio della Signoria (admission daily 10-3) was built for the Gonfalonier and Priors, in whose hands was the government of the Florentine Republic, by Arnolfo di Lapo. The architect was restricted as to size and form by the resolve of the then powerful Guelfs that no foot of ground should be used which had ever been occupied by a Ghibelline building, and to which one of that faction might put forward any possible future claim. Arnolfo entreated to trespass upon the open space where the palace of the traitor Uberti had stood, but the people absolutely refused - 'Where the traitor's nest had been, thre the sacred foundations of the house of the people should not be laid'. The square battlements are typical of the Guelfs: the forked battlements on the tower were added later when the Ghibellines came into power.
The old palace is a great, bold, irregular mass, beautiful as some rugged natural object is beautiful, and with the kindliness of nature in it. - W.D. Howells, Tuscan Cities.
To build the Palace, part of an ancient church was demolished, called San Piero Scheraggio, in which the Carroccio of Fiesole, taken in 1010, was preserved, as well as a a beautiful marble pulpit, also brought from Fiesole, which still exists in the Church of S. Leonardo in Arcetri, outside the Porta San Giorgio. The tower of the Vacca family was used by Arnolfo as the substructure of his own tower, which is 330 feet high. Its bell continued to bear the name of 'La Vacca', and when it tolled men said, 'La Vacca mugghia', - 'The car lows'. The Via de' Leoni, on the east of the Palace, commemorates the lions which were kept by the city of Florence, partly in honour of William of Scotland, who intereceded with Charlemagne for the liberties of the town, and partly on account of the Marzocco, the emblem of the city. These were maintained in an enclosure called the Serraglio till 1550, when Cosimo I, removed them to S, Marco, and they were only finally discarded in 1777.

In 1349 a stone platform was raised against the western facade of the Palazzo, and was called the Ringhiera. Hence the Signory always addressed the people, and here it was that the Prior and Judges sate and looked on, May 23, 1498, when

     Savonarola's soul went out in fire.6
The Ringhiera was not removed till 1812. Its northern angle is marked by a copy of the famous Marzocco of Donatello, recently removed to the Bargello. It occupied the place of an older Marzocco erected in 1377- A still earlier Marzocco stood on this site, which the Pisan captives were forced ignonimously to kiss in 1364. The origin of the name Marzocco is unknown.

On the left of the entrance to the Palazzo stood the David of Michelangelo, removed by the present Government.

On the right is the Hercules and Cacus of Baccio Bandinelli, executed in 1546 on a block of marble selected by Michelangelo at Carrara, but which he was unable to use as he was summoned to Rome at that time for his fresco of the Last Judgment. Before reaching Florence, the marble fell into the Arno, and was extricated with difficulty, which caused the Florentine joke, that it had attempted to drown itself rather than submit to the inferior hands of Bandinelli. By the same artist are the two terminal statues called Baucis and Philemon, which were intended to support an iron chain in front of the gate.

The monogram of Christ over the entrace was placed here in 1517 by the Gonfalonier, Niccolò Capponi.

In order to prove his attachment to liberty, he proposed in council that Jesus Christ should be elected King of Florence, a pledge that the Florentines would accept no ruler but the King of Heaven. The contemporary historian, Varchi, describes how the Gonfaoliner, when presiding at this great council, February 9, 1527, repeated almost verbatim, a sermon of Savonarola, and then, throwing himself on his knees, exclaimed in a loud voice, echoed by the whole council, 'Misericordia!' and how he proposed that Christ his Redeemer should be chosen King of Florence. The old chronicler, Cambi, further relates that on the 10th of June in the following year, 1528, the clergy of the cathedral met in the Piazza della Signoria, wheren an altar had been erected in front of the palace; the word Jesus was then disclosed before the assembled citizens, who finally accepted him as their King. The shields of France and Pope Leo were accordingly removed from their place, and the name of the Saviour, on a tablet, was inserted over the entrance to the palace. - Horner's Walks in Florence.
Inserted, probably at the same time, and with the same meaning, is the inscription on the parapet of the tower: -
Jesus
Christus Rex Gloriae venit in pace,
Deus Homo factus est
Et Verbum caro factum est.
Christus vincit, Christus regnat,
Christus imperat,
Christus ab omni malo nos defendat.
Barbara Virgo Dei, modo memento mei.

This tower, which is worth ascending for the sake of the view, contains the prison of Savonarola.

Parmi tant des monuments dont les formes architecturales sont l'expression toujours vraie, toujours vivante, des moeurs et des passions publiques, il n'en est poit qui mieux que le Palazzo Vecchio ne reproduise, dans son âpre énergie, le caractère de la vieille cité Guelfe. Véritable type de l'architecture florentine qui prit et conserva un cachet si personnel, si distinct, entre les styles roman et ogival et l'architecture de la Renaissance, cet édifice répond complètement à l'idée qu'on se fait de ce que pouvait être le palais de la Seigneurie à Florence. Par sa masse quadrangulaire, son grand appareil à bossages, sa porte étroite, ses rares ouvertures, enfin, par ses créneaux et ses meurtrières que surmonte une tour carrée portant jadis le beffroi communal, ne repésente-t-il pas dans sa beauté sombre et sévère la vie essentiellement militante de la république dont il fut comme le nouveau capitole?

Malgré les changements intérieure que Vasari lui fit subir en 1540, rien n'est plus conforme à la destination et aux données de son histoire que ce beau palais florentine. Rien ne rappelle mieux, avec une lointaine réminiscence des traditions étrusques, l'application du style romain combiné avec l'imitation des grands édifices grec ou romains, qui, à la fin du moyen âge, couvraient encore le sol de la Toscane. Ce qui fait d'autant mieus ressentir ce caractère historique et, pour ainsi dire, tout local du Palazzo Vecchio, ce sont les écussons des divers gouvernements républicains, oligarchique et monarchique, qui se sont succedé à Florence, et qu'on retrouve dans les arcatures des mâchicoulis servant à supporter l'entablement. Là se dessinent le lys blanc de la commune, le lys rouge des Gibellins, les clefs des Guelfes, les outils des cardeurs de laine, puis les six balles des Médici, et meme le monogramme du Christ que le peuple florentine, las d'avoir épuisé toutes les formes de gouvernment, voulut, en 1527, élire solonellement pour roi. - Dantier, L'Italie.

The beautiful little solemn court of the Palazzo is surrounded by a colonnade, of which the pillars were richly decorated in honour of the marriage of Francesco de' Medici in 1565. In the centre is an exquisite fountain by Verocchio, adorned with an animated laughing boy playing with a dolphin. It was originally ordered for Careggi by Lorenzo de' Medici.
Nothing can be gayer or more lively than the expression or action of this child, and there is no modern bronze combining such beautiful treatment with such perfection of art. A half-flying, half-running motion is represented, its varied action still true to the centre of gravity. - Rumohr.
Ascending the staircase on the left of the corridor (always open), we reach on the first floor a small frescoed gallery. On the left is the Sala dei Dugento, where the Councils of War assembled. Into this room, in 1378, burst Michel Lando, the wool-comber, bearing the standard of Justice, at the head of the Ciompi, or 'wooden-shoes, as they were called, in token of contempt', and here his wild followers insisted on placing him at the head of the government, and proclaiming him Gonfalonier of Florence.

A passage leads hence to the vast Sala dei Cinquecento, built c. 1495, by the desire of Savonarola, to accomodate the popular Council after the expulsion of Piero de' Medici. The architect of this hall was Simone di Tommaso del Pollajuolo, surnamed Il Cronaca. It is 170 feet long by 77 broad. Cartoons for frescoes for the walls were prepared by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, but were destroyed upon the return of the Medici in 1512. The existing frescoes are by Vasari and his pupils, and commemorate the exploits of Cosimo I. In one of them (the first on the left) he is seen leading the attack upon Siena, attended by his favourite dwarf, Tommaso Tafredi, in armour. Beneath the central arch is a statue of Leo X, and on either side Giovanni de' Medici delle Bande Nere, father of Cosimo I, and Duke Alessandro, by Bandinelli. Here Victor Emmanuel opened his first parliament in Florence. Another suite of chambers on this floor, called 'the Medici Rooms', because adorned with frescoes by Vasari, relating to that family, are approached by a different staircase.

The second flight of stairs leads (left) first to the Sala del Orologio, so called from the orrery which it once contained, to show the movements of the planets, the work of Lorenzo di Volpaia. It has a splendid ceiling. The left wall is covered by a grand but injured fresco painted by R. Ghirlandajo in 1482. It represents S. Zenobio throned in state, with mitre and pastoral staff. In the architectural compartments at the sides are Brutus, Scaevola, and Camillus, Decius Mus, Scipio, and Cicero.

Hence by a beautiful door, the work of Benedetto da Majano, we enter the Sala dell'Udienza, surrounded by frescoes from Roman history by Francesco de' Rossi Salviati.

The six Priors of the Arts, composing the Council of the Signory, who were first created in 1282, exercised their duties in the Sala dell' Udienza. Their term of office was two months, and none could be re-elected within two years. They were maintained at the public cost, eating at one table, and during their two months of office were rarely allowed to quit the walls of the Palazzo. All their acts were conducted with religious solemnity; the wine brought to their table was consecrated on the sacred altar of Or San Michele, and in the small chapel of S. Bernard, leading out of the chamber, the Priors invoked Divine aid before commencing business. - Horner's Walks in Florence.
A door inscribed 'Sol Justitiae Christus Deus noster regnat in aeternum' leads into the Chapel of S. Bernardo. It is beautifully painted in fresco by Ridolfo Ghirlandajo. The ceiling has a gold ground. In the centre is the Trinity; the other compartments are occupied by nobly solemn apostles and exquisitely beautiful cherubs: opposite the altar is the Annunciation, in which the Piazza della Annunziata is introduced. Here Savonarola received the last sacraments before his execution.
The three friars passed the whole night in prayer, and in the morning they again met, to receive the Sacrament. Leave had been given to Savonarola to administer it with his own hands; and, holding up the host, he pronounced over it the following prayer: 'Lord, I know that Thou art that perfect Trinity, invisible, distinct, in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; I know that Thou art the Eternal Word; that Thou didst descend into the bosom of Mary; that Thou didst ascend upon the cross to shed blood for our sins. I pray Thee that by that blood I may have remission for my sins, for which I implore Thy forgiveness; for every other offence and injury done to this city, and for every other sin of which I may unconsciously have been guilty'. After this full and distinct declaration of faith, he himself took the communion, gave it to his disciples, and soon after it was announced to them that they must go down to the Piazza. - Villari.

FLORIN WEBSITE © JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAYAUREO ANELLO ASSOCIAZIONE, 1997-2017: MEDIEVAL: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, SWEET NEW STYLE: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, & GEOFFREY CHAUCER || VICTORIAN: WHITE SILENCE: FLORENCE'S 'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING || WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR || FRANCES TROLLOPE || ABOLITION OF SLAVERY || FLORENCE IN SEPIA  || CITY AND BOOK CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA MAZZEI' || EDITRICE AUREO ANELLO CATALOGUE || UMILTA WEBSITE || RINGOFGOLD WEBSITE || LINGUE/LANGUAGES: ITALIANO, ENGLISH || VITA
New
: Dante vivo || White Silence