I was amused at the mob excitedly snapping away at Palazzo Vecchio’s 100 year-old copy of ‘David’ perched just 30 feet away from some bonafide hunks of stone and bronze a great deal older. Loggia dei Lanzi is a 14th-century covered porch that adjoins one end of the Uffizi and was once used for assemblies both governmental and civic. In the 1500’s, Cosimo de' Medici I - whose appointment as Grand Duke of Florence re-established the family’s previous rule of the city - made a point of his authority by settling himself into Palazzo Vecchio and commissioning/purchasing some art intended to remind the folks just who was in charge.
Cellini’s Medusa-slaying ‘Perseus’ was created specifically for the loggia as a political symbol of dynastic power, and its proximity to (the original) ‘David’ was probably intentional. In the years following the family’s ouster, Michelangelo’s biblical hero had become an icon of Republican pride; glowering in the direction of Rome as a challenge to papal or Medici interference.
Giambologna’s ‘Rape of the Sabine Women’ was installed 30 years later (1583) and other works added over successive centuries including a collection of ancient Roman ‘Sabines’ moved in 1787 from Villa Medici in Rome, and another Giambologna, ‘Hercules Fighting the Centaur Nessus’, in 1841. Viewed from the piazza, the most prominently displayed pieces of the collection create a tableau of conquest and dominance.
The loggia is free to visit and there are some benches for resting your toes but no eating, drinking, smoking or handling of the artwork is allowed: the guards can be cranky 'bout that.
Free art show – always open! What could be better?!? The Loggia dei Lanzi (also called Loggia della Signoria) is next to the Uffizi Gallery in the corner of the Piazza della Signoria by the Palazzo Vecchio. This arched outdoor terrace is full of statues and is free to walk up and around at all hours of the day. The loggia was built in the 1300s by Benci di Cione and was designed to hold public ceremonies. Today is holds lots of tourists and makes a good meeting place for friends.
Once you climb up the stairs into the loggia, you will find plaques that tell you what the various art works are. The statues that are on display include:
Perseus by Benevenuto Cellini (you’ll recognize this one as the guy holding Medusa’s decapitated head in the air).
Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna (interesting piece that needs to be seen from all angles) – This sculpture has been in the Loggia since 1583!
Hercules beating the Centaur Nessus also by Giambologna.
Menelaus supporting the body of Patroclus, an ancient Roman statue from the mid 1200s BC and used to be at the end of the Ponte Vecchio.
The Rape of Polyxena by Pio Fedi in the late 1800s.
There also are five marble statues of females on the back wall of the Loggia that were discovered in Rome in 1541; these used to be at the Medici’s villa in Rome.
The Loggia is a good place to spend some free time and enjoy some art - maybe while waiting on friends, getting out of the rain, or just simply because you want to see the sculptures.
Making my way from the Loggia dei Lanzi, I walked in front of the Palazzo Vecchio and looked at the copy of Michelangelo’s David and headed towards the Fountain of Neptune. You can’t miss it – it’s on the end of the building and rather large.
This open-air structure adjoining the Uffizi Gallery and opening onto the Piazza della Signoria was built between 1376 and 1382 by Benci di Cione and Simone di Francesco Talenti. The Loggia dei Lanzi or also referred to as the Loggia della Signoria, offers a delicate medieval flavour to the Piazza so dominated by heavy Renaissance structures and acts as an open-air sculpture gallery of antique and Renaissance statuary.
The visitor is especially attracted by two works. On the far left stands the bronze statue of Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini (1545-54). It portrays the mythological king of Mycenea holding the slain head of the monstrous Medusa. It could be easily mistaken as David holding the head of Goliath, however Perseus stands 18 ft tall and he holds the head of his victim high for all to see. His youthful exhuberance may also recall to the onlooker the biblical hero, but perhaps it was Cellini's penchant for the youthful masculine form which inspire his portrayal of the powerful Mycenean king.
On the far right is another remarkable statue, The Rape of the Sabine Women (1581-83) by the Flemish artist Jean de Boulogne or also known as Giambologna. Made from a single block of white marble, Giambologna created a figura serpentina, or an upward snakelike spiral movement of figures to be examined from all sides. Indeed, each side allows the viewer a different perspective, from the twisted body of the older male figure at the bottom, the muscular intensity of the central Roman captor, to the desperate resistance of the Sabine woman.
In my opinion the Loggia is a wonderful invitation to the Uffizi as it entices visitors curious to discover which treasures are housed in its galleries after delighting in the superb works displayed in their exterior surroundings.
Near the Plazzo Vecchio is the Loggia Dei Lanzi, a structure of 3 large round arches on pillars. It was originally constructed in 1382 to shelter dignitaries from weather during public ceremonies.
It houses several sculptures including the Rape of the Sabine Women and Perseus. Many of the sculptures and paintings we saw in Italy were a little violent. These sculptures certainly fit that description. Nonetheless, they were really very interesting. The Loggia Dei Lanzi is a nice place to take a break from sightseeing and enjoy people-watching.
Loggia dei Lanzi was built between 1376 and 1391 by Benci di Cione and Simone talenti in elegant late Gothic style. It consists of large round arches on compound pillars. The fine reliefs above pillars are allegories of the Virtues, designed by Agnolo Gaddi.
A number of outstanding sculptures in plaster copy are preserved inside the Loggia, works of Giambologna, while the originals are kept in the Galleria dell'Academia. In the foreground, on the left, is Perseus, Benvenuto Cellini's most famous work.
I must admit that this is my favorite place in the city. A remarkable sculpture collection, open to the public in an outdoor placement. This could only happen in Florence. But, although the Loggia is a lovely place, it's a museum, not a picnic spot, so please, eat your sandwiches outside, ok? I felt sick while watching people doing that grrrr.
This is the area of the Piazza della Signoria
and the site of a 14th century Loggia. Attributed to Orcagna to whom the construction has been attributed was built between 1376-1382 for the public ceremonies of the Signoria. Within the structure are six Roman statues against the wall in back representing heroines. As well as other works by Cellini, Fedi, Giambologna to name a few. You can also see parts of the external structure fo teh Uffizi Museum and the high fortified walls of the Palazzo Vecchio.
I like this open-air musuem as you can see different statues and the reason why this Loggia was built is interesting. It was used to be for the "High Society" people only.
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