Florence was founded during the Ludi Floreales (Floral Games) in honor of the Goddess Flora, Florentia attracted Greek and Syrian merchants, Barbarian tribes, the Byzantines, Lombards and Carolingians.
As the city endured economic booms and busts, battles for Church reform and for freedom, ancient Florence eventually gained its autonomy. Finally, it became a municipality (or commune) and its history was especially influenced by the power of the merchants, who formed powerful Arts, Trade and other similar guilds. Other characteristics that came to symbolize the city were the competition between Guelphs and Ghibellines, as well as its territorial contentions with the other cities of Tuscany.
Subsequently the Government of the Signoria and the Medici Family dominated; thanks to the family's regal airs and ambitions, Florence lived a long period of prosperity and erudition, allowing it to become the cradle of Humanism. Following were the Republic, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Lorena Family (who opened Florence to European high society), and finally, Italian unification.