Keys to the City of Florence (replica), Florence, 2009.
These keys were given to JMU President Linwood Rose in 2009 by the Florence City Council to symbolize an alliance for arts and cultural development. Made of silver, they are an exact replica of those to Florence's oldest gate, Porta Romana. Florence was enclosed by a circle of walls in Roman times; this was expanded six times as the city grew during the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance. The walls had 35 feet tall wooden gates that were closed when enemy troops approached the city, as well as every night around 6 pm, and reopened in the early morning hours. In the Renaissance urban poor gathered around the gates for public charitable distributions of bread and grain.