Italy’s joining the world war marked the beginning of significant changes in the daily life of the Florentines. Food rationing was to become increasingly tighter, alongside a rapidly growing black market.
As thousands of citizens set off for the various fronts, the entire population was called into action to sustain the war effort, even through regular collecting of metal ware or provisions for the soldiers’ use.
Public places underwent changes, with the setting up of refuge shelters, from air-raid protection around the monuments to the creation of “wartime kitchen gardens” in public gardens and squares. Florence became the site for many political/cultural events held to celebrate the alliance with Berlin and the other countries in that Axis.
After 8 September 1943, the forces of the Nazi occupation, together with the Italian SocialRepublic (RSI), attempt to gain strict control of the territory, as the bombings start and the living conditions of the population are made increasingly more difficult.
The provincial capital is distinguished by the high concentration of German and Republican presence, circumstances that help account for the intensity of anti-Jewish persecution, as well as a more general efficiency in measures of repression (for example, in the wake of the strikes of March 1944).
Solidarity and resistance breathe life into the city of Liberation: Florence, as home to the Tuscan Committee for national liberation, stands out on account of its plurality and rich network of partisans and anti-fascists, opposed to the actions of the occupiers and the men of the RSI perpetrated on unarmed civilians, Jews, conscientious objectors.
From mid-July to mid-September 1944, the province of Florence becomes the scene of fierce battles: the retreat of the German army brings with it terrible destruction and is accompanied by widespread outbreaks of violence and pillage.
It is the partisans who are the protagonists of the battle to liberate the capital, keeping up the month-long conflict against the Germans and 'snipers'.
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