Piazza della Signoria
Take a seat at an outside table in one of the Piazza della Signoria’s many cafés and restaurants. Watch the crowds jostle as they have for over seven centuries in the town’s political and civic center. Flamboyant street performers, milling tourists and busy locals move about this L-shaped town square in front of some of Florence’s most famous buildings.
The construction of the Palazzo Vecchio in 1302 established the piazza as the hub of Florentine life that it is today. The palazzo is still the main town hall in Florence. Public votes, riots and executions have all taken place here under the stern eye of the replica of Michelangelo’s David that stands before the doors. The original statue was moved to the Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell'Accademia) in 1873.
Wander around the open-air sculpture gallery beneath the three wide arches of the Loggia dei Lanzi. Many of the statues here are replicas. The originals have been moved to various museums, but you’ll find the replicas none-the-less impressive. The towering bronze Perseus by the sculptor Cellini holds the head of a Medusa, daring people to cross the Medici family, while the two marble Medici lions further emphasize the power this family once held.
Pause for a moment beside Ammannati’s Fountain of Neptune, commissioned to celebrate Florence’s maritime achievements. Look down to find the bronze plaque commemorating puritanical friar Savonarola, who was executed here in 1498.
The Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi), with its seemingly ever-present lines of tourists waiting to see the works of Botticelli, da Vinci and others, is a highlight of the piazza. A number of other palaces such as the Palazzo Ugoccioni and the Palazzo dei Buonaguisi add to the square’s grand ambience.
The Piazza della Signoria is a vibrant and bustling location at any time. Entry is unrestricted 24 hours a day.