Piazza della Repubblica has a long history. It began as a Roman forum before evolving into the commercial heart of Firenze. Then the area deteriorated into a ghetto where minorities were segregated. After Florence became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy in 1865, the seediness was swept aside as medieval landmarks were demolished during a massive urbanization project. The Arcone Triumphal Arch was built in 1895 to celebrate the transformation. Its inscription reads: “The ancient center of the city restored from age-old squalor to new life.” Republic Square is now the home of high-end hotels, stores and popular cafes.