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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Florence - Day 11

Today I took a leisurely stroll down to the Piazza della Signoria - bypassing the multitude of tourist groups.

Piazza della Signoria is marked by the presence of the Palazzo Vecchio (also known as the Palazzo della Signoria).

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out the front of which you'll find a copy of Michaelangelo's David - standing in it's original position

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The palazzo was designed by Arnolfo di Campo in the early 14th century as a seat for the Republican goverment. During subsequent reigns and rules its use changed and when the Grand Duke moved to Palazzo Pitti in 1565 it then became known as the Palazzo Vecchio or Old Palace.

To one side is the rather striking fountain, The Fountain of Neptune (1565-75) - the marble sculpture by Ammannati and the Bronze water Nymphs are by Giambologna.

The fountain was made to celebrate the wedding between Francesco de'Medici and Joan of Austria.

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Below are just some of the green satyrs and nymphs that are found on the corners of the fountain

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The faces of two of the marble sea horses that emerge from the waters

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The face of Neptune is said to resemble that of Cosimo I de'Medici

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At the time the statue was met with derision, Florentines calling it "Il Biancone" and poor Ammannati the subject of the following rhyme

Ammannato Ammannato, quanto marmo hais scipuato (Ammanato Ammanto how much marble you have wasted)


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It's a fountain that has been damaged quite often the latest attack occuring in 2005.


The third rather impressive site is the Loggia dei Lanzi, built between 1376 and 13 to hold public ceremonies it is now home to 15 statues, the most famous of which is Benvenuto Cellini's bronze sculpture of Perseus holding up the head of Medusa.


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Its base is a copy, the original held in the Museo Nazionale del Borgello

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and by the number of tourists idiots having to have their grubby hands slapped away by the attendant as they repeatedly grope the art, it's amazing that anything original is left in public.

These two lions stand on either side of the entrance stairs, one is a 2nd century Roman Lion one is a copy from 1598. Any idea which is which?

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The lion of the left is the copy by Flamino Lucca.

Statues of Roman women "Sabine" from the early 2nd Century AD stand along the back wall of the loggia

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as well as as a statue of a Barbarian prisoner "Thusnelda" also from the early 2nd century AD

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The next sculpture is the 19th century work, The Rape of Polyxena by Pio Fedi

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This depicts the abduction of Polyxena by Achilles, at his feet is her mother, Hecuba, desperating clinging and pleading for her return as Achilles raises his sword, ready to strike her down.

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The poignant statue of Menelaus holding the body of Patroclus, is a Roman copy of the Greek original

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Another work by Giambologna, Hercules slaying the Centaur Nessus

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Giambologna certainly had a way with faces and managed to impart a multi-dimensional expression.

Finally another Giambologna, The Rape of the Sabine Woman (1538)

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If you'd like to see all the photos then check out the flickr set:
Piazza della Signoria

If you want to see what else i did today, then head here!

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