There is a replica of Michaelangelo’s ‘David’ just by the Loggia dei Lanzi, but to see the real thing you need to visit the Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze
Set just off the piazza della Signoria, the Loggia dei Lanzi is an outdoor museum that holds some of Florence’s most treasured sculptures and fountains. It owes its name to the Lanzichenecchi bodyguards of Cosimo I who were often stationed here to keep the peace. This Swiss mercenary corps subsequently became notorious for sacking Rome in 1527, but the Loggia kept its name.
Designed by Simone Talenti in the 1300s, the Loggia is of the late Gothic style. However, its use of round arches also makes it one of the first examples of Renaissance architecture in Florence. At the time of building the terrace above it was intended as a place for people to watch ceremonies in the piazza below. Now it is part of the Uffizi Gallery, but it remains a great spot for watching the crowds below.
Head to Head
The Loggia first became an outdoor museum when the Florentines expelled the Medici in 1494, after 150 years of their rule. To celebrate the revolt, citizens transported Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes to the Loggia from the Medici’s palace. It depicts a woman decapitating a tyrant — the symbolism is clear.
The Medici’s inevitably regained power and Cosimo I commisioned Benvenuto Cellini to make a sculpture of Perseus holding the severed head of Medusa. In 1554 this statue was placed in the Loggia as a warning to Cosimo’s enemies.
Today, many other statues stand alongside Perseus. Don’t miss Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women, Agnolo Gaddi’s Seven Virtues, or the restored Roman statue depicting Menelaus and Patroclus from Greek mythology.
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