I was watching a history movie that I saw a new sentence, So I can't meaning that.

"It was to be a time when Florence set the standards for European art and culture."

I know be to used for saying arrangement or order but in this sentence doesn't mean.

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    It's a history movie - presumably where an introductory voiceover is telling us something about the "time, period, age, era" that's going to be explored in more detail later in the movie - but ALL of the movie is about the Past, so that's why it starts with It was. Followed by to be because the movie hasn't got to that point yet. Contrast this "future within the past" with "Future in the Present" contexts: The 21st century is to be the age of global civilisation, or The 22nd century will be the age of Mars colonisation. – FumbleFingers Nov 21 at 14:13
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    So it was to be equals it was going to – Vali Asghari Bakhtavar Nov 21 at 14:29
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    Does this answer your question? what is the meaning of "it was to be"? The sense here, 'it was going to be' / 'it would prove to be', is the 'future in the past' sense. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 21 at 14:51
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    Yes, it was to be in this case equals it was going to be. – John Lawler Nov 21 at 16:18

This construction is sometimes used in historical presentation. It is often preceded by an introduction to the theme.

For example. “The fifteenth century dawned {introduction}. It {the 15th century} was to be a time ...”

Here, the reader or listener is invited to place their thoughts at the beginning of the fifteenth century, and to look forward into that century. Hence “It was (looking back from our present viewpoint) to be (looking forward from the viewpoint of the start of that century) a time when ...”

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