On February 3, 1865, Florence became the capital of Italy, to stay so until 1871.
The news, which should have made Florentines proud, on the contrary, did not excite them at all. Bettino Ricasoli, who was also Prime Minister, in anticipation of major problems and an equally waste of money, called the move a “cup of poison” for the city.
The town planning was partly modified in the name of the necessary modernization and the need to host “the burocrats”. The “avenues” were traced, gutting the medieval quarter and tearing down the walls by Arnolfo di Cambio.
The historic buildings of the city became the seats of political power. The King took up residence at Palazzo Pitti, the Prime Minister at Palazzo Medici Riccardi. The Chamber of Deputies was housed in the Salone dei Cinquecento.
Politically, the years of the Florentine capital were quite turbulent: 8 governments and 5 presidents of the Council.
A good beginning bodes well!
In the photo an unpublished painting currently in the studio in our laboratory: Carlton Alfred Smith (British, 1853–1946) “Piazza del Mercato Vecchio in Florence”. This square was destroyed to make room for Piazza della Repubblica. On the left the Loggia del Grano, now in Piazza dei Ciompi