Palazzo Vecchio and the Fierce Florentines

“Il viaggio di scoperta non consiste nel cercare nuove terre, ma nell` avere nuovi ochi.”

I noticed this quote in SM Novella train station in Florence and it can be translated to something in the lines of “The voyage of discovery does not consist in seeking new lands, but in having new eyes.” While exploring Florence, I did not only learn how to better appreciate art and history but I also learned about the Florentines` traditions and lifestyle, which reflects the GCP outcomes of becoming more knowledgeable of cultural systems and being able to analyze cultural interrelationships across time.

    

I am certain that the Duomo is the most popular attraction of Florence and an absolutely impressive technological and architectural achievement of the time; however, in this blog, I will focus on Palazzo Vecchio. Palazzo Vecchio was built in the 13th century in Piazza della Signoria about 500 meters from the Duomo. Compared to other cities in Italy, it was a big change for Florence to decide to build the town hall, the main government structure, relatively far from the main religious building of the city. Florentines wanted to show their strength by building a secure building that would protect them in times of troubles. The city hall was built on what had originally been an ancient tower of a Florentine family (the Foraboschi) and it gained more and more importance in the centuries to come while being ruled from different families. 

One can understand how proud and fierce the Florentines were when they decided in the 1504 century to place Michelangelo`s David right in front of Palazzo Vecchio instead of the Florentine Cathedral were it was supposed to be placed. David represented the biblical heroic figure that all Florentines related to. It is said that David was placed with eyes set towards Rome to remind all Italians of how powerful the Florentines were and how, just like young teenage David, they would defeat all enemies because God was on their side. Until 1873 the statue remained outside of Palazzo Vecchio and later it came to symbolize the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence, by other rival states and by the Medici Family Nowadays, a replica of David is still located outside of Palazzo Vecchio and the original sculpture is located in Gallery of the Accademia, which I had the chance to visit as well.

 

   

 

 

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