Piazza della Signoria
When you think of Florence, you think of Renaissance. Florence is renowned all around the world to be the cradle of Renaissance. Signs of this glorious past make the city an open-air museum that is visited every year from millions of people.
Each museum, each palace and square has a story to tell, begun in the Roman era when Florentia was founded. Settled as a Roman military camp, Florence becomes one of the most important cities in Italy and Europe over the centuries. When it turnes into an indipent municipality first, and then into a Signoria, the city is the European landmark for art, culture, science and politics.
One of Florence landmarks is certainly Piazza della Signoria, that holds all city's glorious symbols. The square is overlooked by Palazzo Vecchio, originally called Palazzo dei Priori. Built at the beginning of 14th century in fortress style, the Palazzo has always been the symbol of politics power. Since its construction it has been the center of Florence governament, as well as nowadays it is the building of Florence Municipality. In fornt of its entrance there are some beautirful statues.
Among the statues in front of the palace stands the Marzocco by Donatello. The Marzocco, a sitting lion with the shield with Florence lily, is the symbol of Florence rule since ever. Next to it there is another work by Donatello, the bronze statue of Judith and Holofernes. It was placed there as symbol of freedom from oppression when the Medici family were driven away from Florence at the end of 15th century.
David by Michelangelo and the artworks in Piazza della Signoria
Right in front of Palazzo Vecchio's main entrance stands the statue of David by Michelangelo. This impressive marble statue is certainly one of the most famous landmarks of Florence. Just think about the millions of people that every year visit the Academy Gallery, where the original work is preserved. On the other entrance side there is the marble statue of Hercules and Cacus by Baccio Bandinelli (1530). Hercules, symbol of strenght, has always been really beloved by Florentines.
On the right side of Palazzo Vecchio stand the Neptune's Fountain and the equestrian statue of Cosimo I. Both works were commissioned from Cosimo I to celebrate himself and decorate the square. The Fountain of Neptune was realized by Ammannati to express Cosimo I intent to turn Florence into a naval power. The bronze equestrian statue of Cosimo I was realized by Giambologna to show the ideal relationship between Florence and the Roman Empire.
On the opposite side there is the beautiful Loggia della Signoria, built in 14th century as a place for public meetings and celebrations. Today the Loggia is an open-air sculpture gallery, where are displayed many masterpieces. Among the statues stand the famous Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini.