On display at the exhibition, was also a rich collection of high-quality historical photographs that document Florence. With its wealth of artistic treasures and its Medieval and Renaissance buildings, Florence in the 19th century was not only a tourist attraction and market for art and antiques, but it had also become a place where the young discipline of art history flourished, and this led to a great interest in photographic documentation.
Photography played an essential role in creating the "myth of Florence" in the 19th century. Shifting between a medium of experimentation, art and souvenir, photography met various requirements and performed several functions. Photographic reproductions of famous buildings and works of art were, however, not limited to acting solely as souvenirs for travellers or research tools of art aficionados, who bought photographs as the raw material upon which to base their studies. Florence's flourishing antique business also benefited from the photographic representations of artistic subjects. Precisely for this reason, photography played an important role in the dissemination of Florentine works of art. Enlarged reproductions often adorned the homes of bourgeois scholars and amateurs. The urban transformations that occurred after Florence became the capital of the newly formed Italian nation were accompanied by photographic campaigns.
This photographic exhibition is based on the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence and combines two intertwined aspects: the pictorial evocation of the Florentine city space, and the history of its representation through the medium of photography between 1860 and 1960 in a variety of techniques, reproduced here in digital prints, and a number of originals from 1900 to 1950.