The Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi, a David, the Rape of the Sabine Women and great coffee
The Piazza della Signoria is Florence’s most famous square, with legendary sculptures in the open Loggia, the Uffizi Gallery on the corner, and Cosimo de’Medici looking a bit askance at the upstart Gucci Museum behind him. Have a quick look round with Tony Page to get your bearings…
“Okay, so here we are in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence and down there you can see the main shopping street (Ed: via Calzaiuoli) that leads from the Duomo where we’ve just walked up, and I’ll sweep round the square a little. Here you can see the equestrian statue of Cosimo I de’Medici.
He was not one of the all time good guys and actually in the statue he’s looking a bit teed off as you might see here, and that’s because, I am told, of this guy, David.
Neptune has Cosimo’s face!
“That’s an imitation of course, the original statue of David is in the Galleria dell’Accademia, but Cosimo was so angry or irritated by the popularity of David that he created a new statue of Neptune, which I think is rather good actually, but you’ll notice that Cosimo had his own face put on it. You know, compare it to his statue that we just saw, amazing.
Have coffee with Cosimo – and the Palazzo Vecchio
“Anyway to go back to Cosimo, to maintain our more relaxed sweep of the Piazza della Signoria. You see the Gucci Museum (Tribunale della Mercanzia) behind, and Neptune stands in front of the main town hall building (Palazzo Vecchio) with the famous tower.
Actually it’s nice in winter to sit in one of the cafes in here in the open air, even though it’s cold, because they have heaters.
The Rape of the Sabine Women exposed to the Elements
“And of course, next to the main palace is the Loggia – “Loggia“, sorry I’ll get the pronunciation right – that has the famous statues in it of Perseus (by Cellini) and Giambologna’s so-called Rape of the Sabine Women, but in fact that title was suggested to him after he had already done it. Here it is, the famous climbing spiral.
My favourite is Cellini’s Perseus and Medusa
Actually, my favourite statue is the Perseus and Medusa. There you can see it against the light – sorry, not very good from here. I find that one of the most attractive and balanced statues here, although there is no doubt Giambologna’s spiral Rape of the Sabine Women is a triumph in both design and sculpture.”