Visitors who find spending their money in entrance fees in museums too much, Florence has a perfect place for you, The Piazza della Signoria. One of the famous places in Italy, for giving visitors a feel of an open-air museum.
Piazza della Signoria is located at the heart of Florence. It is an L shaped square, adorned with sculptures dating back the renaissance period. It is ideal to start your walk at the Loggia dei Lanzi. Loggia dei Lanzi is designed in 1352 and is named after the bodyguards of Duke Cosimo I- the Lancers. It is composed of huge arches on street and is lined with different sculptures, some from the Renaissance Period and other during the Roman Empire. A sculpture by Cellini, called “Perseus” (1554) can be seen along the Loggia dei Lanzi, it shows the Roman God holding the head of Medusa. It previously served as a warning to Duke Cosimo I’s enemies. Like other statues found in the Piazza Roman gods are often a favorite subject as well as important events in the history of the Roman Empire.
Another notable statue is one by Giambologna called “The Rape of the Sabine Women” (1583). The word rape in this context means abduction, it is said that the first generation of Romans abducted women from Sabine to be their wives. The statue then is noted for depicting the struggle and emotions of the said event.
Another point of interest in the piazza is the Fontana di Neptuno or Fountain of Neptune. It depicts the Roman God, surrounded by Nymphs, a symbol celebrating the victory of the Tuscan Navy. The piazza is also surrounded by the city’s important architectural structures. To name a few, around the piazza are the Ponte Vecchio, Galleria Degli Uffizi and the Palazzo Vecchio. The Palazzo Vecchio or Old Palace is a gothic building built in 1322, which attracted Vasari and other Florentine artist to participate in its construction. Inside the building you’ll see frescoes, paintings and statues like the “Victory” of Michelangelo and “Judith and Holfornes” by Donatello. Outside the building you could also marvel at a replica of Michelangelo’s “David.” The original piece was displayed outside the palace until 1873 but now is moved to the Galleria dell Academia.
Visitors can also enjoy mime statue performers around the piazza. You could also sit somewhere in the piazza and observe visitors and local walking around and passing through the piazza. You might be even lucky enough to meet a local, who could show you around the city. The Piazza della Signoria pays homage to Florentine art and history.