5 Famous People From Florence Italy

Last Updated on May 30, 2022 by Alice Benny

Florence is more than just a beautiful Italian city filled with art and architecture. There are many famous people from Florence. Over the years, it has been the birthplace of many very important people in history, from Donatello to Catherine de Medici. 

Spanning the centuries, here are 5 personaggi famosi da Firenze Italia.

Famous People from Florence

There are many famous people from Florence, Italy. Although there are probably as many notable people who have hailed from this city as there are places to stay in Florence, let’s take a look at five you will certainly recognize.

Donatello and Michelangelo  – The “David” Sculptures

Throughout the world, people recognize Florence as the birthplace of Renaissance. It was the home of many famous Renaissance artists such as Donatello and Michelangelo. Both were incredibly skilled artists, and both are famous for their “David” statues.

famous people from Florence
Michelangelo’s David masterpiece

Donatello

Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, is universally known as Donatello. Donatello was born in Florence around 1386 and died in Florence in 1466. 

An infamous Italian sculptor, Donatello revolutionized the 15th century art scene. He is consider to be one of greatest Italian Renaissance artists. He is renowned for his bronze, marble, and wood sculptures.

One of his most famous works is “David,” a bronze statue commissioned for the court of the Palazzo Medici. It was the very first free-standing nude sculpture made since ancient times and it was like no other work at the time.

He introduced new ways of thinking about art… not focusing only on the secular realm of religion but on exploring man’s place in the natural world. Donatello’s David was lifelike and highly emotional. Donatello’s art is characterized by its realism, attention to detail, and the use of classical techniques. His David is also noted for its use of an unclothed figure in a manner that was considered shocking to some people at the time.

Donatello David
Donatello’s David

He is considered one of the most influential artists in 15th century Italy, and an early forefather to the Italian Renaissance.

Today, you can see Donatello’s David at the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, the Bargello National Museum. It was moved there in 1865.

Michelangelo

Though he was not born in Florence, Italy, Michelangelo is another important Renaissance artist associated with Florence. He too created a “David” statue, which is perhaps even more famous than that of Donatello. The statue is meant to be a representation in marble of the perfect male form.

Michelangelo Buonarroti was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance. He is considered one of the greatest artists in history.

He was born in 1475 in Caprese near Arezzo, just over one hundred years after Donatello died. Michelangelo died in 1564. 

Michelangelo went to work for Lorenzo de Medici in Florence where he met Leonardo da Vinci. Michelangelo and da Vinci were both Renaissance masters who competed for commissions. Later on, they became friends. 

There are three copies of Michelangelo’s David statue in Florence. His original sculpture of David is located in the Accademia Gallery of Florence. The second copy of the David is located in Piazza della Signoria (Duomo Square). This is located opposite the Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace). You will find the third copy in the middle of Piazzale Michelangelo.

Another of his famous sculptures is the Pieta. Among many other masterpieces, he is famous for painting the frescoes on the Sistine Chapel ceiling in Vatican City. These frescos are known as the  Sistine Ceiling. He completed them in 1512.

Roberto Cavalli – The Fashion Designer

Born in Florence in 1940, Roberto Cavalli is a fashion designer. People know him for creating the “sand-blasted” style of lighter-colored denim jeans, which is now a standard style for many denim makers.

He began his career in 1965 when he was only in his 20’s, creating hand-painted T-shirts. He went on to become one of the most well-known Italian fashion designers. Elton John is a huge fan and is said to spend hours in the store picking out clothes.

Cavalli’s designs are synonymous with rock-and-roll, and they utilize a lot of leather, color, silk, feathers and much more.

Where to find Caffe Giacosa

Next to his shop is Caffe Giacosa, a great cafe which Cavalli actually owns (and designed of course!). It has a great atmosphere and delicious food and coffee.

famous people from Florence
Sculpture of Donatello

Catherine de Medici – The Ruthless Queen

Daughter to Lorenzo ll de Medici, Catherine was a French/Italian noble woman born in Florence in 1519. She would eventually take the throne as the Queen of France after marrying King Henry II when she was only 14.

Henry’s death thrust her into the political arena. In 1560, her frail 15-year-old son, King Francis II died. This left her as regent on behalf of her 10-year-old son, King Charles IX. She also played a key role in the reign of her third son, Henry III.

Although she is thought to be unforgivably ruthless, she is considered by many historians to be the most powerful woman in 16th century Europe.

Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery (one of the most famous museums in the world) was once a palace of the Medici family full of art treasures. Today visitors can view the art collected by the family and others at the museum.

Sandro Botticelli – The Painter

Another among the famous people from Florence is Botticelli. Born in Florence, circa 1445, Sandro Botticelli went on to become an Italian painter during the Early Renaissance.

He studied at the Florentine school under the esteemed patronage of the famous Lorenzo de Medici during what would later be considered the “Golden Age.”

His best known works are “The Birth of Venus” and “Primavera” (also known as the “Allegory of Spring”). Primavera is one of the most controversial paintings in the world. People have written about it extensively.

Uffizi Gallery in Florence

Both paintings hang at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Other Famous Florentines

The city of Florence, Italy, is a modern-day gem. It has been home to many famous people in the past, and continues to be so today. The list includes:

  • Leonardo da Vinci (artist, scientist, inventor) – Born in Vinci, just outside of Florence
  • Dante Alighieri (writer) – Born in Florence, Alighieri lived in the 1200’s and is most famous for his poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia (translated to The Divine Comedy in English).
  • Niccolò Machiavelli (Italian Renaissance political philosopher and statesman and secretary of the Florentine republic) – Born in Florence, Italy
  • Sandro Botticelli (artist) – Born in Florence

Famous Italian People

Italy as a whole has been a birthplace for some of the most influential people in history. Just a few of these legends include: 

  • Galileo Galilei (astronomer, mathematician, philosopher) – Born in Pisa
  • Giacomo Puccini (composer; famous for operas) – Born in Lucca, Italy

Conclusion

Florence is a city in Italy. It is the capital of the region of Tuscany and has a population of about 380,000 people. As one of the most important cities in Italy, Florence has been an important center for trade, finance, arts, and culture for centuries.

The city has been a major cultural center since the Renaissance, and has had an enormous influence on art and architecture.

The birthplace of many famous people, such as Michelangelo or Dante Alighieri, Florence is also home to some of Italy’s most important museums and libraries. These are just a few examples of famous people from Florence, Italy, but there are many more. If you have the opportunity to visit Florence, you will see it for yourself.

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8 thoughts on “5 Famous People From Florence Italy”

  1. Interesting post, it looks like beautiful surroundings does really help with creativity!

  2. Magnificent site. A lot of helpful information here.
    I’m sending it to a few friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks for your effort!

  3. Italy can lay claims to many famous people and places, but, for me, you can’t beat Italian coffee, especially when served by those gorgeous italian waiters.

  4. Haha yes I suppose it really does, in fact there were quite a few tourists sitting at Michelangelo square painting the view rather than taking photos of it!

  5. I have always admired how French people could be so well-known artists. I didn’t know a couple for them are actually from Florence.

  6. Fascinating! I love European history. People likely thought Catherine de Medici was ruthless because they weren’t used to (and didn’t like) seeing a woman in a position of power. I can only imagine the intrigue at her court!

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