After participating in Jake's Impetvs game set during the Great Italian Wars coupled with the jump-started launch of my own Great Italian Wars project and the arrival of a small stack of Italian Wars books, thoughts returned to my visit to Florence. Florence. When I think of the Renaissance, Florence is the city that immediately comes to mind.
On our first night in Florence, we dined in an open air restaurant on the Piazza del Signoria facing Palazzo Vecchio with this view. Cool view, eh?
|Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore|
Lorenzo the Magnificent keeping a watchful eye. Who would not like the moniker "The Magnificent?"
|Lorenzo the Magnificent|
Through the main gate and across the inner courtyard, the palace opens up into the great room, or Hall of 500. While entry into the Great Hall is on the ground floor, I climbed upstairs to gain a better vantage point. At one time, this was the largest public meeting room in Italy.
|Hall of 500|
The size of the frescoes is immense. These battle scenes were created by Giorgio Vasari in the 1560's. Both Michelangelo and Da Vinci were originally commissioned to paint the frescoes but Michelangelo really never made much progress and Da Vinci's work was damaged by using heat to decrease the drying time. Unfortunately, the heat from the hot coals melted the wax in the frescoes. Speculation is that Leonardo's work is still behind one of Vasari's frescoes.
The Hall of 500's east and west walls display three battle frescoes on each depicting Florentine military victories over Siena and Pisa. On the west wall, are three frescoes,
|Defeat of Pisans at Tower of San Vincenzo, 1505|
|Battle of Stampace, 1499|
|Victory of Cosimo I at Battle of Marciano, 1554|
|The Conquest of Porto Ercole, 1555 (center panel)|
|Taking of Siena, 1554|
Lining the walls of the hall are sculptures showing the Labors of Hercules by Rossi.
and Michelangelo's statue of Victory.
A brief tour of one room, in one palace in one Florence.
No visit to the Piazza del Signoria would be complete without a photo of Perseus holding the head of Medusa.