Geographic Location

Name: Firenze

Description: Founded by the Romans in the first century B. C. E., Florence is located on the Arno River at the foot of the Apennine mountain range. For most of the Middle Ages it was overshadowed politically and economically by two other Tuscan cities: Lucca and Pisa. As the thirteenth century progressed, however, the commune increasingly became the most prosperous and powerful city in Tuscany. It owed its economic prosperity primarily to banking, to the marketing of re-finished imported cloth, and to its close political connections with the papacy and the Angevin kingdom of Sicily. Eventually, by the early fourteenth century, Florence had begun to produce its own cloth for export. In the last quarter of the thirteenth century, the Guelf elite became increasingly divided by rivalry and conflict. By 1300 two principal factions had emerged in the city and countryside: the pro-papal Blacks and the pro-imperial Whites. Identified with the White faction, Dante was forced into exile in 1302 and never returned to his native city.