This characteristic square was and still is the hearth of the origin and of the history of the Florentine Republic. It is also the political center of the city.
Here you can admire the Palazzo Vecchio with its crenellated tower. Nearby there are the Uffizi Gallery and the Loggia della Signoria, as well as the Palace of the Commercial Court and the Ugoccioni Palace (1549).
In this square there is the bronze equestrian statue of Cosimo I by Giambologna (1594) with episodes of his reign on the reliefs.
The Fountain of Neptune by Ammannati is called “Biancone” by the Florentines. The base of the fountain has bronze figures of nymphs and satyrs by collaborators of Ammannati. One of them was Giambologna.
Close to the center of the square a porphyry plaque commemorates the place where Savonarola and his followers were hanged and burned at the stake (1598).
The Lion called “il Marzocco” with the Florentine Lily is a copy of an original by Donatello now in the National Museum. Another copy of a work by Donatello is the bronze representation of Judith slaying Holofernes.
The original David by Michelangelo is now conserved in the Gallery of the Accademy of Fine Arts, while a copy can be seen in the square.
You can also admire the marble group of Hercules and Cacus by Bandinelli (1533).
At the entrance of the Palace there are two statues that used to hold the chains that blocked the door: the female one is by Bandinelli, while the male statue is by Vincenzo de Rossi.
Above the door of the Palace, the monogram between the two Lions reads: “Christ, King of the City”.
Loggia della Signoria: also called “dei Lanzi” (the Swiss body-guards at the service of Cosimo who took cover here), it was built by Benci di Cione and Simone Talenti (finished in 1382) for the investiture of the Priori and other celebrations of the Republic. This is an example of Florentine Gothic architecture: wide arches supported by solid pilasters. Above the arches are lobed panels with figures of the Virtues on a blue enamelled background carved from designs by Agnolo Gaddi. The Loggia also has a vast panoramic terrace.
Under the Loggia there are famous sculptures. One of them is Perseus holding the head of Medusa by Cellini. It is thought that the back of Perseus’ head is in fact Cellini’s self-portrait. Other sculptures include mythological figures in the niches and Perseus freeing Andromeda.
On the steps of the Loggia are two statues oflions: one from the classical era and another by Vacca (16th centrury).
Under the right arch of the Loggia is the marble group representing the Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna.
In the second row there are other important statues: the Rape of Polixena by Pio Fedi (1886), Menelaus supporting the body of Patroclus and Hercules fighting the Centaur Nessus.
Against the wall of the Loggia rest six restored antique statues. The most notable of them is the third from the left.