The preindustrial cities were very dark. Few people dared to walk around at night.Only the aristocratics came out and lit the street with the lanterns of their own carriage, or the criminals that from dark took theire strenght and in the same place able to succeed in escaping unpunished.
The few existent lamps were provided from oil and produced a weak and irregular light. But only few brave people who decided to come out at night however were able to see their own path lighted up by the weak flames coming from the many tabernacles located along all the streets.In a famous guide of the 17th century of the city you can still read that at night the streets were less dark thanks to the amazing number of lamps located, as you can still see, in front of devoted tabernacles". In Florence as all over Tuscany, the oil never missed.
The first pubblic lanterns are dated back up to the 80's ( eightys ) of the 17th century, in 1782 the visit of the Tsar Paolo I and his wife offered the possibility to locate a few number of oil-lanterns that had been kept turned on for the next sixteen days. This was the first experiment of pubblic illumination, when the concept of public illumination did not had yet reached its maturity. The service of this kind of illumination was in reality structured later on by Giovanni Benedetto Luder, which until 1806, therefore in Napoleonic epoch, had realized with success some public experiments.
What has insured defenitevely for him, the confidence of the tuscan governors was carried out between the Sdrucciolo of Pitti and the bridge of Santa Trinità, Luder in the circumstance lit up eleven lanterns.The favour that surrounded him for the new novelty allowed him to win the GARA D'APPALTO carried on in 1809 and to establish the following year the first pubblic city illumination.
The contract stipulated with the florentine town hall, the birth act therefore the public illumination of the Tuscan capital, was expecting the implant of five-hundred lanterns. Later on the restoration Granducale, was Giuseppe Galletti the one who obtained the permission for the oil illumination service for more than twenty years, from 1820 to 1841, year of his failure.At the moment of hand-passage of the management, the service counted 537 lanterns in the whole city.