Sunday, 24 May 2015
Florence Trip - Palazzo Vecchio
The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence, Italy. This massive, Romanesque, crenellated fortress-palace is among the most impressive town halls of Tuscany. Overlooking the Piazza Della Signoria it is one of the most significant public places in Italy. In 1299, the commune and people of Florence decided to build a palace, worthy of the city's importance and giving greater security, in times of turbulence, to the magistrates. Arnolfo di Cambio, the architect of the Duomo and the Santa Croce church, began constructing it upon the ruins of Palazzo dei Fanti and Palazzo dell'Esecutore di Giustizia, once owned by the Uberti family. Giovanni Villani wrote that Arnolfo di Cambio incorporated the ancient tower of the Foraboschi family (the tower then known as "La Vacca" or "The Cow") as the substructure of the tower into its facade; this is why the rectangular tower (height 94 m) is not directly centered in the building. The Neptune Fountain was commissioned for the wedding of Francesco I de’ Medici and Grand Duchess Johanna of Austria in 1565. The sea-horses are supposed to be drawing Neptune’s chariot (a giant seashell on a pedestal decorated with the chained figures of Scylla and Charybdis). When the statue was completed in 1565, the Florentines did not like it much. Michelangelo said: “What a fine piece of marble you have ruined.” The Florentines then started to wash their clothes in the fountain.