Palazzo Vecchio, Firenze

Florence and culture at the turn of the century

New media takes the city by storm in the early 1900s

After following Giuseppe Poggi’s plan for transforming Florence into the capital of Italy (1864-70), the city saw the demolition of its ancient walls to create its large surrounding avenues, including the creation of Viale dei Colli and Piazzale Michelangelo. Urban planners also generated new residential districts like those near Viale dell Mattonaia, Piazza dell’Indipendenza and Piazza Azeglio. Many new office buildings were created in the center during the first decades of the 1900s and the city expanded like wildfire toward the hills. It moved westward toward Via Vittorio Emanuele II and to the east toward Viale Volta. On the other site of the Arno, the city stretched toward Via Pisana and beyond the Pignone where the Foundry became one of the city’s first industrial centers. The population in Florence grew by 50,000 in the years from 1890 to 1915. Perhaps due to this growth, the city became to generate important cultural moments that are still admired today. 

Florence generated important cultural contributions during the twentieth century, especially in regards to literature. The city was particularly interested in producing magazines: ‘Leonardo’ (1903), ‘La Voce’ (1909), ‘Lacerba’ (founded in 1913 by Ardengo Soffici and Giovanni Papini), ‘Il Selvaggio’ (1924), ‘Solaria’ (1925), ‘Il Frontespizio’ (1929). Later, the following publications were produced in Florence: ‘La Critica d’arte’ (1935), ‘Paragone’ (1950), ‘Commentari’ (1950), ‘seleARTE’ (1952), ‘Prospettiva’ (1975) . In addition, Florence took on a primary role on the national scene, generating myriad noteworthy publishing companies like Vallecchi, Le Monnier, La Nuova Italia, Sansoni, Marzocco and Olschki. Between 1910 and 1920, the creators of ‘La Voce’ and ‘Lacerba’ were some of the most dynamic cultural representatives in the city and they would meet to exchange ideas in Piazza Vittorio’s ‘Giubbe Rosse’ caffe. Some of the most important contemporary thinkers and novelists wrote about the development of magazines in Florence, including Aldo Palazzeschi, Emilio Cecchi and Vasco Pratolini.