Chapter 1 considers the impact of humanist debates on the relationships between the spoken vernaculars and Latin on architectural and urban developments in early fifteenth-century Florence. Drawing initially upon late medieval and early Renaissance disputes concerning the role of the Tuscan dialect as a ‘living’ poetic language, the chapter explores humanistic interests in oratory, ancient inscription, writing and pictorial depiction, and how these collectively contributed to a revived interest in the civic realm of the city. The study brings together an array of examples of architectural and artistic relationships in relation to key linguistic themes and metaphors, from optics and perspective to poetics. Focusing in particular on the commemorative events surrounding the completion of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, and the role of the ‘Ringhiera’ in the Piazza della Signoria as a platform for public speaking, the chapter aims to demonstrate how understanding of the relationships between language and architecture during this time simultaneously drew upon a still dominant medieval world-view and set in place the foundations of a new outlook, through innovative developments in perspective, architecture and linguistics.