Loggia della Signoria or Loggia dei Lanzi
Historic Building and Museum in Florence
Florence truly lives up to its reputation as an open-air museum, and the Loggia della Signoria, also known as Loggia dei Lanzi, exemplifies this concept perfectly. This unique open-air sculpture gallery, also called Loggia dei Priori or Loggia dell’Orcagna, showcases a magnificent collection of antique and refined Renaissance art. Its wide arches open up to Piazza della Signoria, adjacent to the Uffizi Gallery, and display beautiful sculptures crafted by renowned artists such as Giambologna and Benvenuto Cellini. Interestingly, Brunelleschi may have drawn inspiration from these arches when designing the Spedale degli Innocenti, the first Renaissance building.
Built between 1376 and 1382 by Benci di Cione and Simone Talenti, the Loggia originally served as a venue for public ceremonies of the Florentine Republic. However, during the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in the sixteenth century, it became a symbol of Medici family power. The selection of sculptures was not merely for aesthetic purposes but to convey specific political messages and affirm their authority.
At the top of the stairs leading from Piazza della Signoria, visitors are greeted by two immense lions: one dating back to Roman times and the other sculpted by Flaminio Vacca in 1598, which originally resided in the Villa Medici in Rome before being relocated to the Loggia in 1789.
In later years, after the construction of the Uffizi, Buontalenti designed a rooftop garden above the Loggia’s arches, creating a terrace from which the Medici family could observe ceremonies in the piazza. Today, this splendid terrace is part of the museum, providing a breath-taking view and further enhancing the Loggia’s allure.
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