Protestant Florence: its Places
While strolling through the centre of Florence you come across many places that speak to the presence of Protestants in the city. If you have a coffee at Gilli’s in via Calzaiuoli or at Rivoire in piazza della Signoria, or again if you visit the Vieusseux library and archive, or again take a photo the small column at Trebbio it’s like meeting the historical memory that survives in Florence’s evangelical churches scattered throughout. The presence of Protestants was especially strong between the 18th and 19th centuries with the arrival of Swiss, German, Scottish and American traders, intellectuals and artists. The meeting with Italian Evangelists, including the Waldensians made it possible to develop a fruitful cooperation in spite of clashes. It was a lasting and fertile meeting in difficult times for religious freedom. This ‘uniform and dissenting’ evangelical Italy proved able to establish interdenominational charities and centres for evangelization, many of which still exist.