After an exciting morning of horseback riding and wine tasting, I felt I needed to make up for lost time so I headed out to find the Piazza della Signoria. It was a long walk, but I saw some interesting sites along the way.
The Piazza della Signoria
Equestrian statue of Cosimo I (1598) by Giambologna in the heart of the Piazza della Signoria
“Piazza della Signoria (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpjattsa della siɲɲoˈriːa]) is an L-shaped square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. … It is the main point of the origin and history of the Florentine Republic and still maintains its reputation as the political focus of the city. It is the meeting place of Florentines as well as the numerous tourists, located near Plazzo Vecchio and Piazza del Duomo and gateway to Uffizi Gallery.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piazza_della_Signoria)
Replica of Michelangelo’s famous statue of David, it’s standing in the Piazza where the original stood for centuries, it dominates the square.
Hercules and Cacus by Bartolommeo Bandinelli
The Loggia dei Lanzi or the Loggia della Signoria contains many pieces of noted Renaissance sculpture, here is Hercules killing the Centaur by Giambologna
Rape of the Sabine women by Giambologna
I made it just inside the doorway of the Palazzo Vecchio, it looks lavish.
The Uffizi Gallery, I didn’t realize this was the Gallery but I was enthralled by the statues; the great figures of the Renaissance are standing in procession offering wisdom, insight and brilliance to the lesser beings roaming the street below. I felt a little bit transported back in time so I took pictures of the people I knew best.
Cosimo de Medici, known as the father of the nation.
Lorenzo de Medici the Magnificent
The Great Man Himself! Painter, sculptor, scientist, engineer, astronomer and inventor; a man of genius; the very definition of Renaissance.
Perhaps the greatest sculptor of all time, the creator of the magnificent David, the Pieta now housed in St. Peter’s in Vatican City and the painter of the Sistine Chapel, invigorating art and making it come to life. I know they’re just statues, but I felt enormous awe to just be in the presence of these statues.
For everyone who loves “The Divine Comedy” as much as I do. This man created new universes and taught us to see the consequences of sin versus the reward of virtue and he did in a way that sings to the reader’s heart. He is considered the father of the Italian language because rather than writing in Latin as his predecessors did, he wrote in Italian in the Tuscan dialect. As others followed his example, the Tuscan dialect became the language of Italy. Dante was, without question, a true Renaissance man.
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (Italian: [nikkoˈlɔ mmakjaˈvɛlli]; 3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527) was an Italian Renaissance historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer. He has often been called the father of modern political science. He was for many years a senior official in the Florentine Republic, with responsibilities in diplomatic and military affairs. He also wrote comedies, carnival songs, and poetry. His personal correspondence is renowned in the Italian language. He was secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence from 1498 to 1512, when the Medici were out of power. He wrote his most renowned work The Prince (Il Principe) in 1513. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niccol%C3%B2_Machiavelli#The_Prince)
After leaving the Palazzo Vecchio, the Piazza della Signoria and the Ufizzi Gallery, I came to the Pont del Vecchio, one of the most famous bridges in the world.
Pont del Vecchio bridges the Arno River, it is believed to have been built in Roman times. It was originally populated by butchers, but after the de Medici’s consolidated power in Florence, they took over the Palazzo Vecchio as their own, since they did not like the smell of the meats for sale on the bridge, they banned the sale of meat and the shops were taken over by gold merchants. Today, the many stalls are filled with jewelry shops selling expensive gold jewelry. In order to connect the Palazzo Vecchio with the de Medici palace, the Palazzo Pitti, Cosimo De Medici had a corridor built above the bridge called the Vassari Corridor which you can see above the shops in this picture. The de Medicis could use this corridor to walk from their palaces above the hubub of the bridge below and never have to come in contact with the common rabble.
Palazzo Pitti (the Medici’s palace); the Medici wealth appears to have no limit. This is just across the Arno from the Palazzo Vecchio so one must cross the Pont Vecchio to arrive here; hence the need for the Vassari Corridor.
Just past the Palazzo, I found a lovely little ancient church that was just beginning Mass; I gratefully stepped into the coolness of old stone walls and the refreshment of the worship and participated in the Mass, what a splendid way to end an eventful and interesting day.
The next morning, I was up early for a tour of the Accademia Gallery which contains the original of Michelangelo’s David.