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It is the most populated city in Tuscany, with , inhabitants in , and over 1,, in its metropolitan area. Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of that era. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments.

Florence plays an important role in Italian fashion , [12] and is ranked in the top 15 fashion capitals of the world by Global Language Monitor ; [14] furthermore, it is a major national economic centre, [12] as well as a tourist and industrial hub. Florence originated as a Roman city, and later, after a long period as a flourishing trading and banking medieval commune , it was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance.

It was politically, economically, and culturally one of the most important cities in Europe and the world from the 14th to 16th centuries. The language spoken in the city during the 14th century came to be accepted as the model for what would become the Italian language. Thanks especially to the works of the Tuscans Dante , Petrarch and Boccaccio , the Florentine dialect, above all the local dialects, was adopted as the basis for a national literary language. Starting from the late Middle Ages , Florentine money—in the form of the gold florin —financed the development of industry all over Europe, from Britain to Bruges, to Lyon and Hungary.

Florentine bankers financed the English kings during the Hundred Years War. They similarly financed the papacy, including the construction of their provisional capital of Avignon and, after their return to Rome, the reconstruction and Renaissance embellishment of Rome. Florence was home to the Medici, one of European history’s most important noble families. Lorenzo de’ Medici was considered a political and cultural mastermind of Italy in the late 15th century. Situated along the Via Cassia , the main route between Rome and the north, and within the fertile valley of the Arno , the settlement quickly became an important commercial centre.

In centuries to come, the city experienced turbulent periods of Ostrogothic rule, during which the city was often troubled by warfare between the Ostrogoths and the Byzantines , which may have caused the population to fall to as few as 1, people. Peace returned under Lombard rule in the 6th century. Florence was conquered by Charlemagne in and became part of the Duchy of Tuscany , with Lucca as capital. The population began to grow again and commerce prospered.

In , Florence and Fiesole were united in one county. The Golden Age of Florentine art began around this time. In , construction began on the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte. The exterior of the church was reworked in Romanesque style between and In , Florence was a ” commune “, meaning a city-state. The city’s primary resource was the Arno river , providing power and access for the industry mainly textile industry , and access to the Mediterranean sea for international trade.

Another great source of strength was its industrious merchant community. The Florentine merchant banking skills became recognised in Europe after they brought decisive financial innovation e. This period also saw the eclipse of Florence’s formerly powerful rival Pisa defeated by Genoa in and subjugated by Florence in , and the exercise of power by the mercantile elite following an anti-aristocratic movement, led by Giano della Bella, that resulted in a set of laws called the Ordinances of Justice At the height of demographic expansion around , the urban population may have been as great as ,, and the rural population around the city was probably close to , After their suppression, Florence came under the sway — of the Albizzi family, who became bitter rivals of the Medici.

In the 15th century, Florence was among the largest cities in Europe, with a population of 60,, and was considered rich and economically successful.

Although the city was technically a democracy of sorts, his power came from a vast patronage network along with his alliance to the new immigrants, the gente nuova new people. The fact that the Medici were bankers to the pope also contributed to their ascendancy. Cosimo was succeeded by his son Piero , who was, soon after, succeeded by Cosimo’s grandson, Lorenzo in Lorenzo was a great patron of the arts, commissioning works by Michelangelo , Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli.

Lorenzo was an accomplished poet and musician and brought composers and singers to Florence, including Alexander Agricola , Johannes Ghiselin , and Heinrich Isaac. By contemporary Florentines and since , he was known as “Lorenzo the Magnificent” Lorenzo il Magnifico. But when he realised the size of the French army at the gates of Pisa, he had to accept the humiliating conditions of the French king. These made the Florentines rebel, and they expelled Piero II. With his exile in , the first period of Medici rule ended with the restoration of a republican government.

During this period, the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola had become prior of the San Marco monastery in He was famed for his penitential sermons, lambasting what he viewed as widespread immorality and attachment to material riches. He praised the exile of the Medici as the work of God, punishing them for their decadence.

He seized the opportunity to carry through political reforms leading to a more democratic rule. But when Savonarola publicly accused Pope Alexander VI of corruption, he was banned from speaking in public. When he broke this ban, he was excommunicated. The Florentines, tired of his teachings, turned against him and arrested him.

He was convicted as a heretic, hung and burned at the stake on the Piazza della Signoria on 23 May His ashes were dispersed in the Arno river. Machiavelli was a political thinker, renowned for his political handbook The Prince , which is about ruling and exercising power. Commissioned by the Medici, Machiavelli also wrote the Florentine Histories , the history of the city.

In , the Medici retook control of Florence with the help of Spanish and Papal troops. Both were generous patrons of the arts, commissioning works like Michelangelo ‘s Laurentian Library and Medici Chapel in Florence, to name just two.

The Medici’s monarchy would last over two centuries. The extinction of the Medici dynasty and the accession in of Francis Stephen , duke of Lorraine and husband of Maria Theresa of Austria , led to Tuscany’s temporary inclusion in the territories of the Austrian crown.

It became a secundogeniture of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty, who were deposed for the House of Bourbon-Parma in From to Florence was the capital of the Napoleonic client state Kingdom of Etruria. The Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty was restored on the throne of Tuscany at the Congress of Vienna but finally deposed in Tuscany became a region of the Kingdom of Italy in Florence replaced Turin as Italy’s capital in and, in an effort to modernise the city, the old market in the Piazza del Mercato Vecchio and many medieval houses were pulled down and replaced by a more formal street plan with newer houses.

The Piazza first renamed Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II , then Piazza della Repubblica , the present name was significantly widened and a large triumphal arch was constructed at the west end.

This development was unpopular and was prevented from continuing by the efforts of several British and American people living in the city. The country’s second capital city was superseded by Rome six years later, after the withdrawal of the French troops allowed the capture of Rome.

Hitler declared it an open city on 3 July as troops of the British 8th Army closed in. However, at the last moment Charles Steinhauslin, at the time consul of 26 countries in Florence, convinced the German general in Italy that the Ponte Vecchio was not to be destroyed due to its historical value.

Since then the bridges have been restored to their original forms using as many of the remaining materials as possible, but the buildings surrounding the Ponte Vecchio have been rebuilt in a style combining the old with modern design. Shortly before leaving Florence, as they knew that they would soon have to retreat, the Germans executed many freedom fighters and political opponents publicly, in streets and squares including the Piazza Santo Spirito.

The first American university for service personnel was established in June at the School of Aeronautics. Some 7, soldier-students were to pass through the university during its four one-month sessions see G.

American Universities. In November , the Arno flooded parts of the centre, damaging many art treasures. Around the city there are tiny placards on the walls noting where the flood waters reached at their highest point. The Arno river , three other minor rivers Mugnone, [32] Ema and Greve and some streams flow through it. Florence has a humid subtropical climate Cfa , tending to Mediterranean Csa. As Florence lacks a prevailing wind, summer temperatures are higher than along the coast.

Rainfall in summer is convectional , while relief rainfall dominates in the winter. Snow flurries occur almost every year, [35] but often result in no accumulation. In the city was home to 50, people. As of 31 October [update] , the population of the city proper is ,, while Eurostat estimates that , people live in the urban area of Florence. The Metropolitan Area of Florence, Prato and Pistoia , constituted in over an area of roughly 4, square kilometres 1, sq mi , is home to 1.

Within Florence proper, Minors children aged 18 and less totalled This compares with the Italian average of The average age of Florence resident is 49 compared to the Italian average of In the five years between and , the population of Florence grew by 3. As of [update] , An estimated 6, Chinese live in the city.

Tourism is, by far, the most important of all industries and most of the Florentine economy relies on the money generated by international arrivals and students studying in the city. Manufacturing and commerce, however, still remain highly important. Florence is a major production and commercial centre in Italy, where the Florentine industrial complexes in the suburbs produce all sorts of goods, from furniture, rubber goods, chemicals, and food.

Heavy industry and machinery also take their part in providing an income. In Nuovo Pignone, numerous factories are still present, and small-to medium industrial businesses are dominant. The Florence-Prato-Pistoia industrial districts and areas were known as the ‘Third Italy’ in the s, due to the exports of high-quality goods and automobile especially the Vespa and the prosperity and productivity of the Florentine entrepreneurs. Some of these industries even rivalled the traditional industrial districts in Emilia-Romagna and Veneto due to high profits and productivity.

In the fourth quarter of , manufacturing increased by 2. Leading sectors included mechanical engineering, fashion, pharmaceutics, food and wine.

During , permanent employment contracts increased by Tourism is the most significant industry in central Florence. From April to October, tourists outnumber local population. Tickets to the Uffizi and Accademia museums are regularly sold out and large groups regularly fill the basilicas of Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella , both of which charge for entry.


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The Silver Surfer is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character also appears in a number of movies, television, and video game adaptations. The character was created by Jack Kirby and first appeared in the comic book Fantastic Four 48, published in The Silver Surfer is a humanoid alien with metallic skin who can travel through space with the aid of his surfboard -like craft.

Originally a young astronomer named Norrin Radd on the planet Zenn-La, he saved his homeworld from the planet devourer, Galactus , by serving as his herald. Imbued in return with some portion of Galactus’ Power Cosmic , [4] Radd acquired vast power, a new body and a surfboard-like craft on which he could travel faster than light.

Now known as the Silver Surfer, Radd roamed the cosmos searching for planets for Galactus to consume. When his travels took him to Earth , he met the Fantastic Four , who helped him rediscover his nobility of spirit.

Betraying Galactus, the Surfer saved Earth but was exiled there as punishment. The Silver Surfer debuted as an unplanned addition to the superhero -team comic Fantastic Four 48 March The comic’s writer-editor, Stan Lee , and its penciller and co-plotter, Jack Kirby , had, by the mids, developed a collaborative technique known as the ” Marvel Method “: the two would discuss story ideas, Kirby working from a brief synopsis to draw the individual scenes and plot details, with Lee finally adding the dialogue and captions.

When Kirby turned in his pencil art for the story, he included a new character he and Lee had not discussed. The Silver Surfer soon became a key part of the unfolding story. Following the Surfer’s debut, Lee and Kirby brought him back as a recurring guest in Fantastic Four 55—61, 72, and 74—77 ranging Oct. The character made his solo debut in the backup story of Fantastic Four Annual 5 Nov. The following year, Lee launched the solo title The Silver Surfer.

The first seven issues, which included anthological “Tales of the Watcher” backup stories, were page with advertising , cent “giants”, as opposed to the typical page, cent comics of the time. Thematically, the stories dealt with the Surfer’s exile on Earth and the inhumanity of man as observed by this noble yet fallen hero.

Though short-lived, the series became known as one of Lee’s most thoughtful and introspective works. Following his series’ cancellation, the Surfer made sporadic appearances as a guest star or antagonist in such comic books as Thor , The Defenders , and Fantastic Four.

Lee remained partial to the Surfer, even asking other writers not to use him as a general rule, [15] and with Kirby collaborated on a seminal graphic novel starring the character, the only original story featured in the Marvel Fireside Books series.

After a one-shot by writer-artist John Byrne with scripting by Stan Lee , the Surfer appeared in his second solo ongoing title in Initially written by Steve Englehart , the series was to be set on Earth and one issue was completed under this premise before Marvel agreed to let Englehart remove the long-standing restriction regarding Silver Surfer being imprisoned on Earth. This first issue was shelved and a brand new first issue was written, to set up this plot twist; the original first issue would ultimately be reprinted in Marvel Fanfare The series marked the first Silver Surfer stories not written by Stan Lee, a fact which Lee was openly unhappy about.

He explained:. I felt that it was kind of nice for me to have been the only writer of the Silver Surfer, so I felt a little bit disappointed when somebody else did it. I would have liked to have been the only person. Had I known they were absolutely going to have the book done, I would have found the time to do it myself. I didn’t really have time but I would have made the time, rather than have anybody else do it.

Englehart introduced many villains for Silver Surfer, as well as featured space politics involving Surfer’s homeworld Zenn-La, which was caught in the middle of a renewed Kree—Skrull War.

However, issues regarding Englehart wanting to use his Avengers character Mantis as Silver Surfer’s companion, as well as editorial refusing to let him use Thanos or other concepts conceived by Jim Starlin , led Englehart to leave the book with issue Starlin took over as writer with issue 34 after several fill-in issues, and incorporated Thanos, Adam Warlock, and Drax the Destroyer into the series.

DeMatteis also having brief writing stints on the series as well. Muth , as well as periodic guest spots by John Buscema. The title experienced great initial success which allowed Marvel to push the character into other media, including a video game , trading card set, and animated series , as well as spinning off a variety of other comics series including Cosmic Powers , Cosmic Powers Unlimited , Captain Marvel vol.

It ran issues, through A two-issue Silver Surfer miniseries later collected as Silver Surfer: Parable , scripted by Lee and drawn by Moebius , was published through Marvel’s Epic Comics imprint in and Because of inconsistencies with other stories, it has been argued that these stories actually feature an alternate Silver Surfer from a parallel Earth.

A new ongoing Silver Surfer series began in , focusing on the character’s alien nature and messianic allegory. It lasted 14 issues. In —, he starred in the four-issue miniseries Annihilation: Silver Surfer and co-starred in the miniseries Heralds of Galactus , both part of the Annihilation fictional crossover. Michael Straczynski and artist Esad Ribic. The first issue was released May 30, to coincide with the character’s first movie appearance. After an appearance in the ” Planet Hulk ” storyline in , the Surfer was featured in its spin-off series starring the Hulk’s son Skaar in , both written by Greg Pak.

The Silver Surfer received a sixth volume, an eponymous 5-issue miniseries written by Pak, debuting in February In , a 5 part mini-series titled Silver Surfer: Black was released featuring art from Tradd Moore in collaboration with writing from Donny Cates. The series is an extension of a Guardians of the Galaxy storyline which the Surfer was sucked into a black hole and ejected into unfamiliar space territory. This run follows the Surfer as he traverses the spaceways on a journey back home.

Facing the destruction of his world by planet-consuming Galactus , Radd bargains with the cosmic being. In return for the safety of Zenn-La and his lover, Shalla-Bal , Radd pledges to seek out planets for the world devourer to consume as his herald.

Galactus imbues him with a portion of the Power Cosmic , transforming him into the Silver Surfer. Radd serves Galactus for an unspecified amount of time. Eventually, the Surfer summons his master to Earth. Touched by their nobility, he rebels against Galactus, who is eventually driven off.

Before he leaves, he confines the Surfer to Earth with an invisible barrier that affects only him. During his exile, the Surfer fights numerous villains, including Doctor Doom , who wants his Power Cosmic, and Mephisto , who wants his soul. The Surfer’s only ally during these trials is a physicist by the name of Al B. Harper, who eventually sacrifices himself to save the world from the Stranger. Banding together with the Hulk and Namor during these wanderings, the Surfer forms the “Titans Three”, a group dedicated to battling evil on Earth.

The Surfer finally pierces Galactus’s barrier with the aid of Reed Richards and temporarily escapes Earth. He discovers, though, that his homeworld has been ravaged by Galactus and Shalla-Bal has been abducted by Mephisto and taken to Earth. Even though it means trapping himself once more, the Surfer returns to Earth to battle and defeat Mephisto. Before being vanquished, Mephisto sends Shalla-Bal back to Zenn-La, but the Surfer manages to endow her with a portion of his Power Cosmic, which she uses to revitalize the plant life of their ravaged homeworld.

After the Surfer aids the Fantastic Four against Galactus’s latest herald Terrax , [44] The Surfer eventually pierces Galactus’s barrier by acting on a suggestion of trying to pass through on a spaceship instead of via his own power on his surfboard. He also makes peace with Galactus by rescuing current herald Nova from the Skrulls. Galactus declares the Surfer’s exile ended. Embroiled in fresh hostilities between the interstellar Kree and Skrull empires, the Surfer also intervenes in a series of plots by the Elders of the Universe , who plan to become supremely powerful by destroying Galactus and the universe with him.

The Surfer thwarts this plot with the aid of his new love interest, Mantis , the Earth-born cosmic heroine also known as the “Celestial Madonna”. The Surfer repeatedly battles space-born menaces, the chief of whom is Thanos, who attempts to kill half the life in the universe using the omnipotent Infinity Gauntlet.

He convinces Galactus to restore it, [53] but once Galactus has done so, the Surfer is overcome with grief until he is able to forgive himself. The Surfer returns home to Zenn-La to find that the planet has vanished, and learns it was actually destroyed in the s Earth time by the entity known as the Other. Zenn-La and its people which the Surfer repeatedly encountered since leaving Galactus’s service were actually reproductions, created by Galactus so that the Surfer would have a home to return to.

He later regains his personality during a time-travel adventure and sharing a romance with Alicia Masters. Silver Surfer temporarily bonds with and is controlled by the Carnage symbiote , which is seeking revenge for the destruction of its homeworld.

Later, the Surfer works with the alien Annunaki race to gather and protect some of Earth’s most extraordinarily gifted children. During his travels, the Surfer is captured by a portal of the Sakaar Empire. Left weakened and vulnerable by his trip through the portal, the Surfer is subdued and implanted with an obedience disk to ensure he remains loyal to them.

Fighting as a gladiator and believed to be the fabled ‘Sakaarson’ due to his appearance , the Surfer is finally forced to face the Hulk along with his Warbound. Through teamwork and distraction, the Hulk is eventually able to destroy the Surfer’s obedience disk.

The Hulk and several other slaves and gladiators are freed when the Surfer uses the Power Cosmic to remove their own obedience disks and give them a way out of the arena, although the Hulk declines the Surfer’s offer to take him back to Earth. During the Annihilation war, the Silver Surfer again becomes Galactus’s herald to help save the universe from the despot Annihilus.

Drax the Destroyer frees the Surfer, who in turn frees Galactus. An enraged Galactus destroys more than half the Annihilation Wave, and Annihilus is defeated. The Silver Surfer leads the world devourer to the populated planet Orbucen, which brings him into conflict with Richard Rider.

He delays the planetary destruction to give the inhabitants more time to evacuate. The Silver Surfer returns to Sakaar in a plan to feed Galactus with the unique “Old Power” which he claims would sate his master’s hunger for thousands of years, sparing many other inhabited worlds. He is opposed by the Hulk’s son, Skaar , and is enslaved by an obedience disc. The conflict is ended when Skaar’s mother Caiera sacrifices her soul and Old Power as sustenance for Galactus. The battle ended when the Silver Surfer chose to leave his post as herald and guard an Asgardian artifact.

Galactus “tethers” him to Asgard’s location in Oklahoma , resulting in his powers waning the further he travels from Asgard, and grants him the ability to return to human form. Silver Surfer and Dawn meet Glorian the Maker of Miracles, who plans to rebuild our universe for the heroes to return to after they finish in Battleworld.

Glorian has also enlisted the help of the Shaper of Worlds. Dawn agreed to use her memories to restore Earth while Silver Surfer left to restore the rest of the universe, but Silver Surfer unmade Galactus while Dawn unknowingly created another version of Norrin.

The Shaper of Worlds is not happy with the changes. When Silver Surfer was displaced in time, he had an encounter with Knull. Gathering the energy from the cosmos, Silver Surfer managed to defeat Knull. During the ” King in Black ” storyline, Silver Surfer passes by the planets that were ravaged by Knull. Knull reels in pain and Eddie Brock is chosen to be the new Captain Universe.


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