Piazza della Signoria, Florence

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  • Entering the Piazza Della Signoria
    Entering the Piazza Della Signoria
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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    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...

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  • Lhenne1's Profile Photo

    People Watch in an Open-Air Museum

    by Lhenne1 Updated Sep 13, 2006

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    This square has a lot of history attached to it:
    Piazza della Signoria was the political heart of the city in the Middle Ages. Created in 1268, the Piazza gets its name from the most important monument there, Palazzo della Signoria, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1298-99 (much of it already completed by 1302, only three years later).

    The square however is not just the "civil" centre of Florence, it is also a splendid open-air museum. The square of the Uffizi stretches out on the south side, towards the River Arno, with the eye-catching Loggia dei Lanzi, (1376-1382), containing 15 statues including Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus holding up the head of the Medusa. In the square can be found a replica of the statue of David, along with an assortment of scultptures dating back to sixteenth century. (Dates and artists courtesy of "The Florence Art Guide")

    Tourists abound in the Piazza Signoria and therefore so do the tourist stalls and overpriced restaurants. But don't miss this spot on account of its huge tourist draw. Try to avoid the tour groups and hit it up early in the morning or around dusk. During the day, grab a gelato, have a shady seat by the steps of the Loggia and just people-watch.

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  • Marpessa's Profile Photo

    A nice piazza

    by Marpessa Updated Apr 14, 2006

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    Palazzo Vecchio at sunset
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    This is the Piazza where Michelangelo's 'David' used to stand - there is a replica in its place now (with many people still getting their picture taken with it). There are many restaurants, shops and ice-cream parlous in the area.

    The main feature of Piazza della Signoria is the Palazzo Vecchio - the building with the tower and clock. The construction of Palazzo Vecchio began in 1294 and while initially it was built as a 'palace-fortress', it now houses some wonderful pieces of art. In the piazza there is also the Loggia dei Lanza (to the right of Palazzo Vecchio) which has some beautiful sculptures in it, including Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus. Also a stunning feature in the piazza is the fountain, Fontana del Biacone (The Neptune Fountain) created by Bartolomeo Ammannati (finished in 1575).

    Piazza della Signoria was especially nice in the evening when the sun was going down. I sat on the steps of the Loggia dei Lanza one evening, eating gelato in the warm summer air, there were many people in the piazza and it had a great atmosphere.

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  • dvideira's Profile Photo

    Neptune fountain and Loggia dei Lanzi

    by dvideira Updated May 28, 2004

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    neptune fountain - florence

    The Piazza della Signoria is an open-air museum in the center of Florence.

    On the corner of the Palazzo della Signoria ( or Palazzo Vecchio ) there is the famous fountain with the figure of NEPTUNE in white Carrara marble by sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati. The fauns and the marine divinities are works fused in bronze by Giambologna.

    In the back of the picture there is the Loggia dei Lanzi. Under the elegant arches of the loggia - which were erected between 1376-1382 for the public ceremonies of the Signoria - there are many sculptures on display.
    If my photo wasn't so stupidly taken you would be able to see that....
    There are six Roman statues representing heroines. There is also the RAPE OF POLISSENA, a 19th century work by Pio Fedi. HERCULES AND THE CENTAUR is by Giambologna. To the sides of the loggia there are two masterpieces: PERSEUS WITH THE HEAD OF MEDUSA by Benvenuto Cellini and the RAPE OF THE SABINES by Giambologna.
    As my photo was indeed stupidly taken... all you can see in the distance is the PERSEUS...

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  • dvideira's Profile Photo

    Piazza della Signoria

    by dvideira Updated Jun 8, 2004

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    piazza della signoria - florence

    As soon as I found a hotel to stay I went to Piazza della Signoria to meet my niece and her boyfriend. It was nice having someone with me there to some pinch in the arms ( to believe I was not dreaming... ) and to share all the ooohhhhs and aahhhhs.

    I believe this is a nice place to start in Florence.
    Piazza della Signoria has been the political heart of the city from the Middle Ages to the present day.
    Piazza della Signoria was built on a site once occupied ( in the period of the Roman Florentia ) by a large theatre.
    In the Middle Ages, modest houses and alleyways sprang up there.
    The land was property of the powerful Ghibelline family of the Uberti, and when the Guelphs took power, they destroyed the properties and established that nothing should be built on it again.

    Today, it is a ( sometimes TOO) lively spot with many restaurants, bars and ice cream shops

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  • doug48's Profile Photo

    piazza della signoria

    by doug48 Written Jul 29, 2006

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    piazza della signoria

    the piazza della signoria is located in the heart of florence. from this point most of the major attractions are within walking distance. this piazza is an open air art gallery. in the arched loggia dei lanzi is giambologna's "rape of the sabine women", and cellini's "perseus". on the back wall of the loggia are several statues of ancient roman priestesses. in front of the palazzo vecchio is bandinelli's "hercules and cacus", a copy of michelangelo's "david", and a copy of donatello's "the marzocco". two other works of art in the piazza are ammannati's "neptune fountain" and giambologna's "grand duke cosimo I". there is a marker in the center of the piazza marking the site where girolamo savonarola was burned at the stake in 1498. for more information on the piazza check out my florence page.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    The heart of the matter

    by goodfish Updated Dec 4, 2012

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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 Uffizi) 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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  • Jmill42's Profile Photo

    Piazza della Signoria

    by Jmill42 Written Mar 26, 2004

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    Foutain of Neptune

    Walking from the Duomo to the Uffizi Gallery, you will come to a large piazza just before reaching the entrance to the Uffizi. Its name is the Piazza della Signoria. This piazza deservesa closer look, because it holds many works of art itself. My favorite is the fountain that is near the center, the Fountain of Neptune by Ammannati. There are many statues to its right under the overhang of the Uffizi's west wing, including a cool one of Medusa. I have not even mentioned the reproduction of Michelangelo's David. The entire piazza should be explored, so you can find out whihc is your favorite!

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  • roamer61's Profile Photo

    Piazza de Signoria

    by roamer61 Updated May 18, 2009

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    Equestrian Statue of Cosimo I Medici
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    This is perhaps the most popular square in all of Florence. Is is dominated by Palazzo de Vecchio and it shares it with the Loggia and the Uffizzi Gallery. There are many statues here, giving the whole area the feeling of an open-air museum. In one part of the square is a great equestrian statue of Cosimo I Medici. The loggia has a number of statues including numerous classical, rennaisance and later works. Most notable of these Perseus with the head of Medusa by Cellini. There are more statues in front of the Palazzo de Vecchio, including a copy of David and the Fountain of Neptune. The square is of course also fringed by cafes and numerous souviner shops.

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  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    Gorgeous Florence Piazza

    by sue_stone Updated Nov 22, 2004

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    Piazza della Signoria
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    Piazza della Signoria is a beautiful piazza surrounded by gorgeous buildings and lined with (expensive) cafes.

    It is like a huge outdoor sculpture gallery, with several copies of Michelangelo's David.

    Here you will find the Palazzo Vecchio and a fabulous fountain of Neptune.

    It is a great place to have a coffee, do some people watching and write a post card or two.

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  • rita_simoes's Profile Photo

    Beautiful Piazza

    by rita_simoes Updated Sep 29, 2007

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    Fountain of Neptune
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    It's the main piazza of the city, and it's also one of the most beautiful 'piazze' in Italy. You really can't stop taking pics at every corner!

    It's surrounded by gorgeous buildings, including Palazzo Vecchio, and the fountain of Neptune right in the middle. There is also a copy of Michelangelo's David in front of Palazzo Vecchio, so if you want, you can skip the Accademia ;-)

    All the cafes in this area seemed (like everywhere else in Florence) quite expensive, so if you want to enjoy a gelato or just a bottle of water here, get ready to spend good cash.

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  • bpwillet's Profile Photo

    Piazza della Signoria

    by bpwillet Written Feb 22, 2004

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    Piazza della Signoria from the Duomo dome

    One of the historical centers of political and social life in Florence, this piazza still is a buzzing central area lined with hotels, small shops and nice cafe's. Built on ruins of 13th century homes the square's name actually derives from the palace where the government of the Republic or "signoria" was. The Palacio Vecchio is the most dominant building in the plaza and there are numerous statues that line the exteriors. It is almost like an open air museum. The piazza has been the center for many historical events. The riots of the 1300's to the Medici ceremonies, the execution of conspiratrors against Lorenzo and Giuliano in 1478, dead bodies of murderers dangled from the windows of the palace, to the hanging and burning at the stake of the Dominican monk Savonarola in 1948.

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  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Artistic Splendour

    by mikey_e Updated Aug 21, 2007

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    Piazza della Signoria
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    The Piazza della Signoria is THE place to be in Florence for those who love art and the history of the city. This has always been the heart of political power in Florence (hence its name) and is adorned with many examples of the city's rich cultural heritage. Watch out, however, as some of the statues here are fakes. Nevertheless, the Piazza is a great starting point for any visitor to the city of Florence, as Gli Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio and many other historic sites are either off of the Piazza or a 5 minute walk from it.
    The Piazza has a turbulent history. In the 14th century it was the scene of a peasant and worker uprising. In 1498, Savonarola, a puritanical preacher, was hung and fried (yes fried) along with his supporters. The centrepiece of the square, the Fontana di Netuno, is not quite as beloved as some of the other artistic works throughout Florence. It is referred to by Florentines as Il Biancone (the big white one). Michelangelo said that it was a waste of marble. The Piazza also includes copies of Davide and Marzocco by Donatello.

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  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    Palazzo Vecchio

    by croisbeauty Updated Sep 19, 2005

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    Palazzo Vecchio
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    The construction of Palazzo Vecchio begun in 1294 as a palace-fortress for the residence of the Priors. The building, by Arnolfo di Cambio, is conceived as a large block crowned by merlons. The characteristic feature is the Tower, rising up above the palace and similar in style to the upper part of the mansion. The Tower is where Cosimo the Elder and Savonarola were imprisoned. The whole building is in rusticated pietra forte giving it an air of severity.

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  • Polly74's Profile Photo

    Piazza della Signoria

    by Polly74 Written Aug 3, 2004

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    Piazza della Signoria

    This is NOT an average Piazza. It is a square surrounded by 14-th century palaces and Loggia dei Lanzi. It has statues by Michelangelo, Benvenuto Cellini, Giambologna, Ammannati and others.

    In the backround, there's a large squared building. It is the Palazzo Vecchio, the Admin building of Florence since 1294

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