When people say that Florence is a museum town they primarily mean Signoria Square. It’s not the fact that a small open area contains dozens of copies of the best artworks. In Signoria Square you have special feeling of being in the very heart of Florence and in the very heart of Renaissance.
We visited Signoria Square around five times and as for that day we stayed for a few hours there due to its beauty and to the rain we were caught in. It was like a new discovery every time. And every time we saw it in a different light. We took a few hundred photos of Florence a large number of which were taken just in that square.
The major artworks in the square are the following:
The Fountain of Neptune built in 1575 by Ammannati. A magnificent and extremely interesting fountain was meant to show dominion of Florence over the sea.
Palazzo Vecchio was the residence of the rulers of the Republic of Florence (Signoria of Florence). The square itself was named after it. The building fits perfectly into the whole line of other works of art. Inside the Palace there is a famous chamber “Salone dei Cinquecento” and a few other museums.
A replica of “David” of Michelangelo
This statue was presented to the public in 1504. Since then it has been the symbol of world art. Michelangelo was only 26 when he created his sculpture. Since 1873 the original is being kept at the Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts.
Opposite “David” there is “Hercules and Cacus” by Bandinelli (1533).
Loggia dei Lanzi
Loggia dei Lanzi is a special place in Signoria Square. It was built in 1382 as a building to hold public ceremonies in the Florentine Republic. Later it was used to house landsknechts.
Today the building is used to house such well-known artworks as “Perseus with the Head of Medusa” by Benvenuto Cellini, “The Rape of the Sabine Women” and “Hercules beating the Centaur Nessus” by Giambologna, an ancient Roman replica of the ancient Greek sculpture “Menelaus supporting the body of Patroclus”, “The Rape of Polyxena” by Pio Fedi and a few more ancient sculptures. And of course, “Perseus with the Head of Medusa” and “The Rape of the Sabine Women” are the most peculiar sculptures among them.
I highly recommend reading the story about how Cellini was creating his “Perseus with the Head of Medusa” in 1554. The sculpture was meant to warn the enemies of Cosimo I that they would share the same fate.
As for us, Loggia dei Lanzi played its role in our life too. It protected us from heavy rain after which we continued our way toward Santa Croce.