Florence circa 1900: The Photographic View

Streets and Squares

At the time of the Risorgimento and Italian unification Florence underwent changes that also translated into new urban development. After 1854 when the capital of the Italian Kingdom, formed just three years earlier, had been transferred to the Arno, the city underwent expansions and renovations so that it could demonstrate it was up to its new role. One of the alterations that had the most impact on the face of the city was carried out from 1865: the knocking down of the city walls and their replacement with wide boulevards. As the architect leading the project, Giuseppe Poggi (1811-1901) not only designed the boulevards but through them he made the urbanization of the suburban quarters possible. Only the medieval gates of the city remained intact, which still represent the nodes of urban communication. Situated along the boulevards were the studios of artists and professors at the Accademia, such as Tito Conti (1842-1924) for example, but the Kunsthistorisches Institut was also established there. Of the tourist attractions it is still possible to admire Piazzale Michelangelo, which was designed by Poggi. Even the entertainment garden "Teatro Giardino Alhambra", with its open-air theatre, restaurant and cafè, and located on the site of the present Piazza Beccaria, gave the city a more modern appearance. To replace the theatre, which was opened in 1899 and damaged by a fire the following year, in 1921 the architect Adolfo Coppedè created an oriental cinema hall, which no longer exists.

Map of Florence before construction of the boulevards, Orazio Batelli (draft), G. Carini (engraving), between 1848 and 1855, steel engraving 63.0 x 89.5 cm, inv. no. 484388

Map of Florence with the boulevards and urban expansion, Vittorio Romanelli (draft), S. Benelli (engraving), between 1871 and 1878, steel engraving 69.5 x 89.5 cm, inv. no. 94205

View of Florence with Ponte alle Grazie before demolition of the small houses, photo: unidentified photographer, circa 1860/1870, albumen print 20.8 x 27.5 cm, inv. no. 456736

Piazzale Michelangelo, photo: unidentified photographer, circa 1900, albumen print, 19,6 x 24,9 cm, inv. no. 171238

Porta San Gallo before demolition of the walls, photo: unidentified photographer, circa 1860, albumen print on salted paper 24.9 x 20.3 cm, inv. no. 103295

Porta Romana, photo: unidentified photographer, before 1903, albumen print 20.1 x 25 cm, inv. no. 6896

Porta alla Croce, photo: Anchise Mannelli, circa 1900, silver gelatin print 19.2 x 25.2 cm, inv. no. 113275

Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci, photo: unidentified photographer, circa 1900, albumen print 19.2 x 24.8 cm, inv. no. 456737

Lungarno - Piazza de' Giudici, photo: unidentified photographer, circa 1900, albumen print 19.2 x 25.2 cm, inv. no. 198217

Teatro Alhambra by Adolfo Coppedè behind Piazza Beccaria (demolished in 1961), photo: Studio Brogi, after 1921, silver gelatin print, 43.1 x 57.9 cm, inv. no. 230587

© KHI in Florence | 02.06.2023 08:17:27