Piazza della Signoria
Photo: HarshLight on Flickr
Florence’s political hub since the 14th century
Noteworthy for: The Bonfire of the Vanities - a 15th century mass-burning of ‘sinful materials’ (from books to paintings to musical instruments) - took place here.
An L-shaped square in the centre of town, the Piazza della Signoria has been at the heart of the city’s social and political life since Roman times. However, it was after the construction of the political fortress Palazzo Vecchio in the 14th century that its political significance was firmly cemented - and also when several suitably impressive additions to the piazza were made.
Nowadays, it’s these adornments that make Piazza della Signoria one of Florence’s classics. Vecchio aside, other beautiful buildings include the wide-arched Loggia dei Lanzi on top of which Medici princes once watched ceremonies in the piazza; the significant Tribunale della Mercanzia, the Court of Merchandise, which now houses the Gucci Museum
; and the historic Raphael-designed Palazzo Uguccioni, which contains amongst other things luxury apartments to rent. There are also several stunning statues, from Cellini’s ‘Perseus with the Head of Medusa’ to Giambologna’s ‘The Rape of the Sabine Women’.