Piazza della Signoria is situated in the heart of Florence, just in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. The L-shaped town square takes its name from the Palazzo Vechhio, which is more formally referred to as the Palazzo della Signoria. It has long been the political center of the city and is a gathering place for both residents and the droves of tourists who enter it every day. The piazza is just one part of the overall historic center of Florence, which has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within close proximity, you will also find such immensely popular attractions as the Uffizi Gallery, the Ponte Vecchio, the Piazza del Duomo, and the Palazzo Vecchio.
Fountain of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati
The Palazzo Vechhio is indeed the most preeminent of all of the buildings that overlook this famous town square in Florence. This impressive fortress is primarily a museum, but remains the seat of the municipal government as well. And although structures like the Palazzo Vecchio and Giotto's Campanile span high above the piazza, the priceless treasures on the ground tend to draw the greatest amount of visitors to the piazza itself. Statues in the Piazza della Signoria such as the Fountain of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati and the copy of Michelangelo's David draw the attention of the eager tourists who pass into the historic center of the city to witness some of the greatest works of Renaissance statues ever assembled. (The original David by Michelangelo is now housed within the Accademia Gallery). The Fountain of Neptune dates back to the middle sixteenth century and was worked on by some of the greatest practitioners of the day.
Some of the most famous statues in the Piazza della Signoria are located in a statue gallery known as the Loggia dei Lanzi. The Loggia dei Lanzi is essentially an open-air statue gallery. It features such legendary works as Cellini’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa and a restored ancient statue recovered in Rome that depicts and is called Menelaus Supporting the Body of Patroclus. The Loggia dei Lanzi is just one of the places in and around the Piazza della Signoria where you can witness brilliant works from the period of the Italian Renaissance.
The most difficult part of any trip to Florence is trying to determine how to split up your time between all of the attractions. How, after all, can you decide between the Accademia Gallery, the Uffizi, and the Duomo Museum, especially if you only have a limited amount of time? You may not be able to see everything you wish to see, but a great place to start your sightseeing journey is the Piazza della Signoria. From here you will be in prime position to see all of the impressive statues in the Piazza della Signoria before heading off to your other destinations of choice. Also, for places you especially wish to see, look into making advance reservations as these may be required for entry.
The piazza is a charming place, if you do not mind sharing it with others, and the fact that statues like the Fountain of Neptune are around virtually every corner makes it all the more intriguing and amazing. Other notable statues in the Piazza della Signoria include Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes and Giambologna’s The Rape of the Sabine Woman.