This grand project was the widening of the Via dei Calzaioli from the Piazza

This grand project was the widening of the via dei

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project that exemplifies nineteenth-century Florentine urbanism.This grand project was the widening of the Via dei Calzaioli from the Piazza della Signoria to the Duomo through the heart of the city. In 1841, Luigi de Cambray Digny, the grand-ducal architect who had been elected gonfaloniere (mayor), ordered the municipal Ornato board, the Ufficio d’Arte, to study the idea of broadening the street for reasons of improved traffic flow and heightened decorum of the city center. Expropriations shaved back nearly one hundred commercial addresses along three blocks to a uniform 10-meter width. Each property owner was responsible within six months for rebuilding his facade. Many are by Enrico Presenti, and all were reviewed by the Ufficio d’Arte to meet minimum height requirements, have acceptable window patterns, and demonstrate high-quality Renaissance-style decoration.The operation wiped away centuries of medieval stratification, and the upscale buildings quickly outpriced the street’s former residents, who were supplanted by the rising bourgeois class.The result, seen in before-and-after views, demonstrates the willful creation of an ideal Renaissance city. Even the name of the street was enriched by the addition of a “u” to Calzaiuoli. Meanwhile, the historical patrimony of Florentine museums, palaces, and churches also underwent systematic restoration to render the city’s architectural history a focus of civic pride. Florence joined the nation by plebiscite in 1860 and dutifully dedicated a Piazza “dell’Indipendenza.” More streets were widened and regularized, like the one from the train station to the Duomo, to provide commodious and decorous routes.Areas were lotted out for residential quarters, further clarifying the growing differentiation of classes and urban functions with a commercial center and residential 190 the architecture of modern italy
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the challenge of tradition, 1750–1900 4.5 and 4.6 Luigi de Cambray Digny and Enrico Presenti,Via dei Calzaiuoli widening, Florence, 1841–44. Comparative before and after lithographs by Ballagny da Simoncini
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periphery.The planners on all these new projects were local architects, competent professionals descended in the school of Florentine professionals from Pasquale Poccianti.With the declaration of the moving of the capital, the Florentines feared that the stationing of the ten-thousand-person national bureaucracy in the city of only one hundred thousand might compromise its qualities, so Mayor Luigi Guglielmo de Cambray Digny, son of the architect, retained his father’s Ornato experts to the exclusion of all non-Tuscan designers. In the words of Bettino Ricasoli, a Florentine in the national parliament, they would have hated “to see the city’s Toscanità inundated by the ocean of Italianità .” To meet the deadline for the transfer of the capital, communal palaces and confiscated convents were adapted to the requirements of the arriving government.The Chamber of Deputies sat in the Palazzo Vecchio’s Salone dei Cinquecento, the Senate in the Uffizi, the interior ministry in the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, the defense
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  • Spring '17
  • Archt. De Veyra

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