Piazza della Signoria
The splendid Piazza della Signoria is an exclusive open-air art gallery situated in the centre of the capital city of Tuscany.
It was built in the 13th century ca. in the ground where an ancient Roman amphitheatre was once erected. It symmetrical contour distinguish Piazza della Signoria between the other central Florentine squares where the main religious sites are located.
The Piazza della Signoria has been the political axis of the city for many centuries. Nowadays is an active meeting point for numerous Florentines and foreign visitors.
In the Middle Ages the ground of the square belonged to the noble Ghibelline family of the Uberti. When the Guelphs got hold of Florence they destroyed the Ghibelline properties and determined that nothing else ought to be there constructed.
At the ending of the 13th century the first building facing on the square was designed by the architect Arnolfo di Cambio: The Palazzo della Signoria, further called Palazzo Vecchio.
At the present, the imposing Palazzo Vecchio with its emblematic crenellated “Torre d’Arnolfo” is the seat of the Town Hall which houses an outstanding art collection mostly from the ending of the 13th century to the 16th century.
At the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio are displayed a replica of the “Marzocco” by Donatello (the original one is kept in the Museum del Bargello), a replica of the “David” by Michelangelo (the original one is kept in the Museum dell’Accademia), a replica of the bronze sculptor group “Giuditta e Oloferne” by Donatello (the original one is kept in the Palazzo Vecchio) and the wonderful sculpture group of “Ercole e Caco” by Baccio Bandinelli (1533).
Next to Palazzo Vecchio arises the gorgeus “Fontana di Nettuno” by Bartolomeo Ammannati (1575).
The square is presided by the equestrian statue of Cosimo I de Medici by Giambologna (Italian name of the Flemish architect and sculptor Jean de Boulogne) erected in 1575.
Other historical and wonderful buildings located in Piazza della Signoria are:
- The Loggia della Signoria (1376-1382) projected by Benzi di Cione and Simone di Francesco Talenti is lined with several original Roman statues, as well as with the outstanding marble sculptor group “Il Ratto delle Sabine” by Giambologna (1583) and the marvellous bronze statue of “Perseo” by Benvenuto Cellini (1545).
The Loggia della Signoria hosts the “Caffè degli Uffizi” located on the open gallery which crowns the structure. The “Caffè” offers some amazing views over the square.
- The Palazzo degli Uguccioni (16th century). The design of its façade is attributed to Raffaello.
- The Palazzo del Tribunale della Mercanzia (1360 ca.) now the site of the Florentine Bureau of Agriculture.
- The Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali (1870) built in a refined Renaissance style.
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