Florence Guide tourist information on Florence and Tuscany:art, history,events, hotel and accommodation
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Piazza della Signoria
In 1268 the Guelfs took control of Florence again and decided to demolish all the houses of their rivals the Ghibelines, beginning with the towers of Foraboschi and Uberti.
Thirty six houses in all were torn down and it is for this reason that the piazza today has the form of an "L" and the buildings on it are not aligned.
Its name derives from 'Palazzo della Signoria', seat of the Republic and Priory of Arts, designed in 1298 and completed in 1302 by Arnolfo di Cambio. It remained the same while under the Medici's and Duke Cosimo I who lived there from 1540 to 1565, having it enlarged by the architect Giorgio Vasari.
When the Duke transferred to the palace of Palazzo Pitti in 1565, Palazzo della Signoria became Palazzo Vecchio. Palazzo della Signoria is also a real open air museum. On the South side you find the little square of the Uffizi and right after the Loggia of Lanzi with its 15 statues, among which Perseo with the head of Medusa done by Benvenuto Cellini. Not far from the Piazza you can see the Fountain of Neptune by Ammannati and the equestrian statue of Cosimo I by Giambologna. Finally, a marble circle on the pavement of the piazza reminds us of the precise point where Girolamo Savonarola was burned (May 23rd, 1498).
Surrounding Piazza della Signoria are also the Tribunal of Mercanzia , the 16th century Palazzo Uguccioni and the palace which hosts the Alberto della Ragione Collection; 250 Italian paintings from the period between 1920-1950. Last of all, Palazzo of the Assicurazioni Generali (General Insurance) built in 1871 where the antique Loggia of Pisani and the church of Saint Cecilia both rose.
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