Thursday, February 26, 2015

Palazzo Vecchio in Florence

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?
Palazzo Vecchio
During our stay in Florence, the B&B in which we stayed was less than a five minute walk to The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore.
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
From the Cathedral, it was only a short walk to the Palazzo Vecchio or old Palace near the banks of the Arno River.  For Renaissance battle frescoes, the palace is worthy of a stop.
Palazzo Vecchio
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
Siege of Livorno Lifted, 1496 (center panel)
Battle of Stampace, 1499
and on the east wall, three frescoes,
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.


  1. It is one of those cities, like Vienna and Prague, where you feel the history as much as see it. I remember the daytrip to Siena from there and that was another atmospheric town.

  2. Ah, lovely. Might have to show the wife some of your photos and drop a few not-so-subtle hints ;-)

    1. Please do show the photos to your spouse!
      Italy is a great place for a historical vacation.

  3. Florence, Sienna, Pisa, Milan, Genoa, Rome, Venice, Naples, and cluntless smaller cities and towns - one could spemnd a lifetime touring Italy, I imagine!

    The frescoes are amazing in size and execution.

    "The Medicis - when you care enough to buy the very best!" :-)

    1. How true about the Medicis!

      As for the frescoes, just imagine that a Da Vinci might be covered up behind one of them!

      We are already planning our next trip back.

  4. Beautiful images from the capital of the Renaissance! We were there last summer, and the queues just to get into the museums was daunting to say the least. That you actually made it through the queue and have these wonderful images to show for it, is a real testament to your devotion to this period in history:0)

    1. The queue into the Uffizi was not too long when we were there in early May and getting into the Accademia museum was easy. Definitely a city to which I want to return.

      Seems every time I visit an interesting historical place, it sparks a new gaming interest. This time, the Renaissance interest got a boost from a little help from my friends.

  5. Lovely pictures Jonathan, love the Renaissance period in the art...nice, very nice!

  6. Wow, what fantastic pics. Florence is in my top 10 of places I need to visit! More pics please???

    1. You should definitely make the trip if you have the interest. Florence is a wonderful city.

      I will post more photos of Florence for you, Ray.