Piazza Della Signoria, Florence

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  • Piazza della Signoria
    Piazza della Signoria
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  • Loggia dei Lanzi
    Loggia dei Lanzi
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  • Fountain of Neptune (Bartolomeo Ammannati, 1575)
    Fountain of Neptune (Bartolomeo...
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    Piazza della Signoria

    by Twan Written Jun 18, 2015

    The Piazza della Signoria is one of the main squares of the Italian city of Florence. On the square are several important buildings situated, including the Palazzo Vecchio (town hall) and the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most important art museums in the world. Palazzo Vecchio also called Palazzo della Signoria, making the square got its name.

    On Shrove Tuesday of 1497 (Tuesday, February 7th), the Dominican monk Savonarola and his followers lit on the Piazza della Signoria a 'Bonfire of the Vanities "in which all kinds of sinful luxuries and immoral books were burned. On May 23, 1498 she landed herself on the pyre on the same square. A marble plaque marks the place of their execution.

    Piazza della Signoria Fountain of Neptune (Bartolomeo Ammannati, 1575) Loggia dei Lanzi Statue of Cosimo I de 'Medici (Giambologna, 1594) Palazzo Vecchio
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    Difficult to Take a Bad Photo!

    by BeatChick Updated Jan 18, 2015

    The Piazza della Signoria lies at the historic and geographical center of Firenze. If you came to Firenze to see famous art and you only had a half day to explore, head here first! The Uffizi is situated here and a copy of Michelangelo's famous statue David is standing out in the square. The original once stood here but experienced some wear and tear due to the weather so they moved it indoors to the Accademia, a good 15-minute walk north. The Uffizi's Loggia is outside but is covered and contains many wondrous statues. If you're a fan of "A Room with a View" as I am, then you'll recognize the Loggia (see my tip with additional photos).

    This is also the famous site where Savonarola (and 3 other priests) were hanged and ironically burned for his Bonfire of the Vanities (Auto de Fe), for the burning of books and works of art he deemed indecent. You may remember this from history class or more likely from the 2001 film "Hannibal".

    Now that I've turned your stomach, let me take this moment to mention this is also THE place for people watching! Since it's at the center, many folks (including myself) use the square as a shortcut to get to another part of Firenze and you'll have plenty of opportunities to see the crossroads of tourists. And there are a plethora of cafés here to do your gazing and resting.

    Michelangelo's David Copy - Piazza della Signoria Statuary - Piazza della Signoria Piazza della Signoria in September Uffizi's Loggia - Piazza della Signoria Architectural Details - Piazza della Signoria
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    The heart of the matter

    by goodfish Updated Oct 28, 2014

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    That this piazza has its own website is a pretty good indication of its importance to the Florentine story - although it was never originally intended to be a piazza at all. Way back in the 13th century, Florence was nearly decimated during a conflict between two opposing factions who, depending on which side had the upper hand at any given time, leveled the properties belonging to their respective enemies. The palazzo of one of those factions stood on this site and when it was destroyed, the ruins were left in place to deter any attempt at reclamation - of property or power - by the deposed family.

    At the very end of the century the rubble was cleared away and construction began on a fortress-like headquarters, Palazzo della Signoria, for the city’s government. That’s the one with the big bell tower looming over the southeast side of the piazza. The tower was briefly a prison for Savanarola, the “Mad Monk” who staged his “Bonfires of the Vanities” in the square and who was himself executed by fire on the spot marked by a plaque directly in front of the goofy-looking Neptune fountain. Gradually the square was enlarged as more buildings were removed from the perimeter, and the palazzo expanded as well when Cosimo I de’ Medici called it home in the mid 1500’s. He eventually moved residence across the river to more impressive digs in the Pitti Palace, and had a private passageway - the Vasari Corridor - built between the two which crosses the Arno above the shops on Ponte Vecchio. Round about that time the palazzo, previously named for the Signoria, a frequently revolving, 9-member group who headed Florence’s republican government, was renamed Palazzo Vecchio: Old Palace.

    Today, the palazzo is part city hall and part museum, and the square’s relative proximity to the Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, Piazza Repubblica and, of course, the Pitti museums on the south side of the river make it a busy place. Tourists flock here to snap away at the replica of Michelangeo’s ‘David’ (the original is in the Accademia) and browse the free collection of sculptures at Loggia dei Lanzi. The square is also ringed with restaurants which, while convenient for people watching, come with a price tag. Best time to visit? Early evening when most of the tourists have trotted off to dinner and the golden-lit palazzo is at its forbidding, Medieval best.

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    Piazza della Signoria

    by hungariangirl896 Written Sep 13, 2014

    Piazza della Signoria is one of Florence’s most beautiful and busy squares. This old square holds a large spot in the city’s history since it contains the town hall, Palazzo Vecchio, and is close to the Uffizi and Ponte Vecchio. Hundreds of Florentines would come here to meet, discuss important topics together, and hold various festivals. While the Palazzo Vecchio and its clock tower are the most dominant in the square, the Loggia dei Lanzi (designed by Andrea Orcagna) and Generali Palace are also very eye-catching. Piazza della Signoria is also famous for its many statue copies arranged about, which include David, Perseus, the Neptune Fountain, and Grand Duke Cosimo I. Some historically significant events have occurred here like the execution of Savonarola. It’s very easy to spend hours or even a whole day in just Piazza della Signoria because of all its offerings: two amazing museums, elegant cafes, restaurants, and small boutique shops.

    Fountain of Neptune Generali Palace Palazzo Vecchio clock tower side street leading to Piazza della Signoria Palazzo Vecchio in the evening
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    Savonarola’s execution site

    by brendareed Written Jun 15, 2014

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    The Italian Dominican friar, Girolamo Savonarola, stirred up passions and trouble in Florence in the late 1400s. He lived in San Marco and used that as his parish church. He preached against books, immoral art, wigs, make up, and virtually anything else that could be considered secular or nonreligious.

    He was famous for his “Bonfires of the Vanities” in which people burned up their sinful objects. The famous artist Botticelli became a follower of Savonarola and threw many of his works into these fires and from that point on, only did religious works. Lucky for us, his Birth of Venus and Primavera paintings (seen in the Uffizi Gallery) were owned by the Medici and were saved from the burnings.

    Eventually the people tired of his rantings about the last days and destruction of the city. When he declined to participate in a trial by fire, his followers began to wane. Eventually he was excommunicated, tried for heresy and preaching sedition. He was executed by burning on the same spot as his own bonfires were held – in the Piazza della Signoria in front of the town hall.

    The site of his execution is marked by a round plate in the piazza. You can find this plate directly in front of the statue of Neptune. His monk’s cell and belongings can be seen in the San Marco Museum.

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    Everywhere You Look is a Feast for Your Eyes

    by riorich55 Updated Oct 9, 2012

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    As the title of this tip says, "Everywhere you look is a feast for your eyes". The activity, the statues, the painters, the people, it was probably the best piazza we visit while in Italy.

    It seemed like the majority of groups walking around in Florence were school kids which I always find amusing and a chance for a couple of photo opportunities. It seemed like most groups wore something distinct so that the group leaders could find stragglers a bit easier.

    The mood in Florence compared to Rome seemed more jovial and not as rushed. Maybe it is the smaller size of the city or maybe the fact that there was more an emphasis on art over ruins that lightened the spirits of everyone.

    We thoroughly enjoyed our 1 day in Florence and wished we could have included at least an additional day. We didn't see any fountains to throw some money into so that we would return, but I'm sure on another trip to Europe that we will be back.

    Entering the Piazza Della Signoria Picture #2000 - Kids on Tour
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    Piazza della Signoria

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Jun 17, 2012

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    The Piazza della Signoria has been the center of political life in Florence since the 14th century with the prominent Palazzo Vecchio overlooking the square. It was the scene of great triumphs, such as the return of the Medici in 1530 as well as the Bonfire of the Vanities instigated by Savonarola, who was then himself burned at the stake here in 1498 after he was denounced by the Inquisition as a heretic. A marble circle inscription on the piazza shows the location where he was burned.

    The sculptures in Piazza della Signoria bristle with political connotations, many of which are fiercely contradictory. The David (the original is in the Galleria dell'Accademia) by Michelangelo was placed outside the Palazzo Vecchio as a symbol of the Republic's defiance of the tyrannical Medici. Bandinelli's Hercules and Cacus (1534) to the right of the David was appropriated by the Medici to show their physical power after their return from exile. The Nettuno (1575) by Ammannati celebrates the Medici's maritime ambitions and Giambologna's equestrian statue of Duke Cosimo I (1595) is an elegant portrait of the man who brought all of Tuscany under Medici military rule.

    Piazza della Signoria Piazza della Signoria
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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Piazza Della Signoria

    by Jim_Eliason Written Nov 12, 2011

    This was and still is the main square of Florence sitting in front of the Palazzo Vecchio the original governmental palace. The greatest works of sculpture produced in the republic once stood in this square including Micheangelo's David. Today those sculptures are distributed around the cities museums and only copies are in the piazza.

    Piazza Della Signoria Piazza Della Signoria Piazza Della Signoria Piazza Della Signoria Piazza Della Signoria
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    Oh my goodness, it's David!!

    by Jefie Updated Jun 24, 2010

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    If Piazza San Marco can be described as the heart of Venice, then surely once can say that Piazza della Signoria is the heart of Florence. There is something magical about suddenly finding yourself surrounded by wonderful works of art, and for some reason you just know you're in Florence once you reach the piazza. Piazza della Signoria is dominated by the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence's city hall, and it's often described as an open-air art museum, especially thanks to all the statues found at the Loggia dei Lanzi. Initially built in 1382 to hold public ceremonies, the loggia is now home to many famous statues, including Benvenuto Cellini's "Perseus with the Head of Medusa" and Giambologna's "The Rape of the Sabine Women". I also thought the piazza's "Fountain of Neptune" was quite remarkable, especially considering it was originally a wedding gift (it was commissioned in 1565 in honour of Francesco I de Medici's wedding with Johanna of Austria). But of course, the most famous statue of all is that of Michelangelo's David, located near the main entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio. Although it's the statue's original location, the David that now stands on the Piazza della Signoria is a copy of the original one which was moved to the Accademia in 1873 to protect it from damage. Of course, that doesn't stop people from admiring and taking numerous pictures of Michelangelo's masterpiece.

    By the way, there are several restaurants located around the piazza (including an Irish pub!), and most have nice outdoor patios. However, we took a quick look around and decided we'd probably be better off trying to find a restaurant in a less conspicuous location...

    Who wouldn't recognize this guy?! Loggia dei Lanzi, on Piazza della Signoria David and Hercules near the Palazzo Vecchio
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    Main square in heart of Florence

    by clareabee Written Dec 14, 2009

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    I could sit here for hours watching the world go by....this is a fantastic place to people watch. There are some lovely restaurants here you can while away an hour for lunch (they don't rush here so get used to the slow pace!) or a pleasant evening - particularly nice in the summer!

    I loved it here - although it was busy it was never claustraphobic and it was nice to see everybody enjoying the place as much as me!

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  • aukahkay's Profile Photo

    Piazza della Signoria

    by aukahkay Written Nov 5, 2009

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    For many centuries, the Piazza della Signoria was at the heart of the city's historical and political events. It is dominated by the 13th century Palazzo Vecchio. The Loggia dei Lanzi holds many sculptures including the Rape of the Sabine and Hecules and the Centaur and Perseus.

    Piazza della Signoria Palazzo Vecchio Palazzo Vecchio Piazza della Signoria
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    Piazza Signora

    by apbeaches Updated Oct 12, 2009

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    Piazza della Signoria is an L-shaped square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. It is the focal point of the origin and of the history of the Florentine Republic and still maintains its reputation as the political hub of the city. It is the meeting place of Florentines as well as the numerous tourists.

    The impressive 14th century Palazzo Vecchio is still preeminent with its crenellated tower. The square is also shared with the Loggia della Signoria, the Uffizi Gallery, the Palace of the Tribunale della Mercanzia, and the Uguccioni Palace. Located in front of the Palazzo Vecchio is the Palace of the Assicurazioni Generali

    This square is more like an outdoor museum with the centerpiece being a copy of Michelangelo's David. We also saw a bronze equestrian statue of Cosimo from 1594 by Giambologna, The Fountain of Neptunefrom 1575 by Bartolomeo Ammannati. The Lion, referred to as "il Marzocco" with a copy of the "Florentine Lily", originally made by Donatello, "Judith and Holofernes", by Donatello Hercules and Cacus, by Bandinelli ,The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Giambologna, Perseus with the Head of Medusa", by Cellini.

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    Piazza della Signoria : Renaissance Reason

    by JoostvandenVondel Written Aug 1, 2009

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    Whereas the Piazza del Duomo may be considered Florence's medieval heart, the Piazza della Signoria ma represent her Renaissance spirit. As the centre of the Florentine Republic (1115-1533), it still remains a political meeting place today despite attracting thousands of apolitical tourists.

    Upon arriving from the Via dei Calzaiuoli, the visitor's eyes are naturally drawn to the mythical 14th century Palazzo Vecchio and its crenallated tower to the far left corner. To the far centre is located the Loggia della Signoria and as one traverses the great square towards these structures, one passes a number of magnificent statues.

    One of my favourites is the Fountain of Neptune (1563-1565) by Bartolomeo Ammannati which was commissioned on the occasion of the wedding of Francesco I de Medici (whose face served as Neptune's model) with the grand duchess Johanna of Austria in 1565. The figure stands on a high pedestal in the middle of an octogonal fountain. The pedestal is decorated with the mythical chained figures of Scylla and Charybdis whilst the perimetre of the fountain is decorated by reclining bronze river gods, satyrs and sea-horses.

    Il Biancone (the White Giant) has been the target of numerous vandalous attacks, and today its 19th century copy is to be seen in the Piazza, whilst the original is located safely in the National Museum.

    Of course, any visitor cannot miss the Piazza della Signoria and it is a wonderous place to find oneself. The cafes around the piazza are expensive, so it may be worth tucking into a back street and grabbing a take-away gelatto, coming back and enjoying the ambiance!

    Palazzo Vecchio on the Piazza della Signoria Piazza della Signoria, Neptune's Fountain Fountain of Neptune, detail Piazza della Signoria, Looking North East
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    Art on the Outdoors

    by jorgec25 Written Jul 3, 2009

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    Piazza Della Signoria is the very heart of downtown Florence. You tend to pass there wherever you go, or from wherever you are coming from. It’s a beautiful square, with several great statues, and overlooked bey the Palazzo Vecchio. Take special attention to the fountain with Neptune.

    Piazza Della Signoria Piazza Della Signoria Piazza Della Signoria Piazza Della Signoria Piazza Della Signoria
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    See the Statues in Piazza

    by BruceDunning Updated Jun 15, 2009

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    Piazza dell Signoria is in the middle of the center area, between Duomo and by Palazzo Vecchio and close to the Uffizi gallery. It is a nice place to congregate and see the people and sites. Michelangelo designed this famed structure of David (a facimile) when he was about 30 years of age. It made him reknowned throughout Italy. Displaying the David statue created a dilemma, and it moved around the city for a while in 1504 until rested for viewing by all outside in the Signori square.
    Next to this is the Loggia of Lanzi, a string of fabulous statues that are displayed in open under the arched loggia. It was built in 1376-82, and called this due to the Germans occupying the area to camp while they were here. The Palazzo Vecchio is in Signoria square and inside there is a museum available for seeing, called Academia. It has many sculptures-including the actual DAvid, paintings, and other art. Cost is 10 Euro to enter.

    Statues in Loggia Lanzi of Piazza delle Signoria BAck rear view of David Side view of David in the square Leonardo hanging around Tower of Palazzo Vecchio in Signoria square
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