In the Portuguese imagination Florence is justly considered the cradle of modern western civilisation. Seen and admired from the Renaissance on as the new Athens, for the Portuguese it has always represented not only a model of culture and civilisation to take as inspiration, but also and above all the locus amoenus of spiritual and intellectual harmony and balance, dreamed-of and unattainable, that floods and pervades the soul with a vague, nostalgic sentiment of admiration. Evidence of this, now as in the past, are the serried ranks of poets who for centuries have sung its praises and raised it to the rank of myth. This brief anthology proposes only a few of them, among the most renowned of recent generations. In a truly original way these poets have managed to convey to the hearts and minds of their compatriots their own stunned vision of the city, illustrating emotions that cannot fail to move even the Florentines and, in a broader sense, we Italians as a whole. Thus what is offered in these pages, in fine Italian translation, is this mesh of voices, an intimate and enthralling polyphony of city, poet and reader, unfurling in an evocative melody and proposing the legend of Florence in a new light – possibly more authentic and illuminating.
University of Florence, Italy