During a pleasant conversation with friend and Prof. Stefano U. Baldassari, Ph.D. Academic Director and Dean of Students at ISI Florence, International Studies Institute, we talked about the sense of beauty, and how it is precisely the beauty of one of the main attractions and a reason for our fascination with Florence.

Stefano explained to me a beautiful picture depicting the so-called Pianta della Catena, attributed to Francesco di Lorenzo Rosselli, painter, engraver and cartographer born in Florence in 1448, and considered the first known example in the history of cartography with the intention of representing the completeness city of Florence, with all its buildings and the dense network of streets and squares.

"Pianta della Catena" (1471) attributed to Francesco di Lorenzo Rosselli
“Pianta della Catena” (1471) attributed to Francesco di Lorenzo Rosselli

The name Pianta della Catena, dated around 1471, is due to the decorative motif that characterizes it, a closed chain with a padlock framing the plan of the city, that seems to put it under lock and key, as if to want to protect it, just as you do with a treasure valuable.
It is true that a plan of a historical city appears useful to analyze the urban development of the subject, but in our case, this refined and detailed picture of Florence, engraved on wood, even symbolically expresses its timeless beauty, a precious treasure that everyone must strive to preserve, protect from barbarism, because true beauty educates people and soothes minds.

I talked about this feeling with dear friends, who have shared with me and that’s why we thought of a new newspaper which was attended, choral and inclusive, friendly, able to focus attention on the people “can do,” on talent, the leadership skills of the people. The name also comes from this, Florence is You!, to express the sense of ownership and responsibility to the beauty of our City. We wanted to talk about those who represent Florence, those with the humility and the spirit of service in performing their work, who live and work in the city and are an expression of the high quality of this city, of its pride.

It is amazing the ability that Florence always shows in attracting people from all over the world, each in becoming an object of desire, admiration, so that the trip to Italy cannot be separated from Florence.
In October 2013, on days when we were laying out the paper, it was undertaken with a unique “challenge” between the mayors of Europe’s most courageous, a real contest of ideas for innovation launched by the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. Promoted by the Bloomberg Philanthropies, the contest puts up for grabs as much as 5 million euros for the European city which proves capable of bold and innovative ideas to solve problems of daily life in the city. The ceremony was also attended by the mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, who welcomed with great enthusiasm and excitement Bloomberg’s challenge, demonstrating the international vocation of our Florence.

The invitation to the city is inevitably open to all citizens, and to all of us, to all of you who are reading now, to take part in this new challenge, each bringing their own vision, to share it with others, accepting suggestions, perspectives and new actions. There is not something to be eradicated in this branched fabric of squares and streets, but rather a meaning and a sense of belonging to rediscover and develop, together.

– Anna Balzani

Anna Balzani