Walk a medieval Florence


Medieval walk in Florence: Introduction

The walk we offer through Florence is a discovery of the heart of the medieval city through these streets with authentic charm, away from the tourist gaze. The theme ? Daily life in the Middle Ages, through the economy, domestic politics, medieval literature and art of the frame. The walk takes us along the Republic Square in the Bargello Museum, that is to say in a line perpendicular to the Via del Calzaiuoli, the main artery of the city joining the Cathedral Square to Square Signoria. From the Republic Square, ancient and medieval economic center, the walk will reveal the frame of the art with the Palace Davanzatti typical mansion of the medieval era and the Florentine museum. She then takes us in the footsteps of medieval Florence infighting with the discovery of the Palace of the Guelph Party and the history of its rich merchants with the Loggia of the New Market and the Orsanmichele church. From there, after crossing via del Calzuioli there, we stop in front of the House of Dante in order to evoke the founder of Italian literature. Finally we end our walk with an outdoor presentation of the Museum of the Bargello, the first palace of the government of the city, long before the Old Palace of the Piazza della Signoria has been built.

Florence Square of the Republic

Piazza della Repubblica, the Republic Square ... Look around you; it is a vast rectangular square lined with noble buildings very 19th century, which replaced those of an old neighborhood in need, for reasons of hygiene, a total rehabilitation. In the center, a fountain. Stand beside her. On one of the long sides, an arcaded street is home to luxury shops: it is cut by the Strozzi street leading to the model of Florentine Renaissance palace, the Palace of the Strozzi family built in the late 15th century. The street is easy to recognize: it is topped by an arch as a triumphal arch. Position ourselves to face him. Here. And now what do we see on the two short sides? Great Italian cafes. Watch them with their terrace. They are proud, towering over most of the space, the Café Giubbe Rosse. This is one of the most famous cafes of Italy. Why ? Because it was once the place of rendezvous literary circles: HQ romantic then that of the founders of literary ideologized intellectual journals: a kind of Florentine Saint Germain des Près. A lively therefore, place of exit of the Florentines, day and night ... but instead of weekly / daily market, and this, since the beginning of time. It is first center of the Roman castrum. Then she hosts the forum of the ancient Roman city where the Capitol are located, a temple dedicated to three gods and the Roman market. In the Middle Ages, still in continuity, it is the Old Market Square. And it is here that Florence of economic life in full swing. Furthermore, the Old Market Square housed the headquarters of corporations of the trades of the time: those entities whose economic role was closely linked to domestic politics were so real powerful lobbies. A theme which we'll talk later during our walk. Now go to the meeting of the medieval city as it was and penetrate into this network of narrow streets. Our first stop is the Palace Davanzati. To get there, cross the square to the street with arcades. Then walk along it taking on the left; the position of the buildings are then on our right. This street, Via Pellicceria leads on a side street, Via Porta Rossa which closes the area encircling the square, renovated in the 19th century.

Florence Palazzo Davanzati

Are you good at the corner of via Pelliceria and Via Porta Rossa? Well, then take now on your right. The Davanzati Palace is located about 50 meters from where we are, on the opposite sidewalk. What do we recognize? First, there will be inscribed "Davanzati Palace - Museo della Casa fiorentina antica"; moreover, the mouth is provided with a balcony in its upper part. It is a colonnaded open space under roof. Then the Davanzati Palace marks the beginning of our discovery of an unknown Florence, medieval and not reborn. It is both the architectural style of the 14th century palace and the museum of Florentine house. Observe this more closely palace. The ground floor consists of 3 doors; above, three levels of windows; Finally, the top floor, a high open loggia on the outside. In this fancy, but look good in each row of windows ... a narrow ledge, or thin strip of stone, highlights the different levels of the palace, not amounting floors but breast high windows like those -ci layed above: a purely aesthetic effect as one will find in the following period. Another characteristic elevation of this house, full height, and that, so all the more visible that remains is narrow. But back to the history of the palace. As we have said before, the Davanzati palace is the epitome of a merchant palaces. Beautiful demonstration since it was built in the 14th century

by a wealthy wool merchant, exported throughout Europe and making the economic wealth of Florence. In the 16th century, the building was acquired by the person who gave it its name, Bernardo Davanzati, historian and man of letters. He added the loggia, as is commonly done at that time. Restored in the early 20th century, it now houses the "Museum of Florentine House." This makes it both a medieval setting for a medieval and Renaissance furniture of great value and a good evocation of life at that time through the dining room, the bedroom, the kitchen, the living room reception, or the well serving each floor. The rich hangings and ornate ceilings complete this rich collection we urge you to discover. Will now see another iconic medieval palace, one of the Guelph Party. For this, let Via Porta Rossa to the corner with Via Pellicceria, the arcaded street leading to the square of the Republic. And turn right to the palace of the Guelph Party. It is about 100 meters from where we are, 50 meters to the corner and then 50 meters to the palace.

Florence: the Party Palace Guelph

Are you well before the palace of the Guelph Party? Then position yourself opposite the entrance of the palace. It is located on the square of the same name, the one where you are. Let this facade: it is the oldest part of the high building in the 14th century. It is in this regard, adorned with a large Gothic window, fitted with braces, and leading to the first floor, a staircase decorated with pilasters octagonal and covered with a roof. But what was so the Guelph party? a political party, certainly; but linked as much to the foreign policy of the city to domestic policy. Why ? Well, back on the history of Guelph and their opponents, the Ghibellines. Now contemplate this building again. The facade of the 14th century, before which we were later supplemented by another wing which is in the other corner between Via delle Terme and Via di carpaccio. Come and see for that, go round the palace by the right. Are you well before the Renaissance facade? This building of a different style than the last was conducted in the early 15th on a design by Brunelleschi, the great architect of the dome of Florence Cathedral; it ended in the late 16th century by the author of the loggia, Giorgio Vasari, the official architect of the Dukes of Tuscany. The façade we see is typical of the style ordered Brunelleschi Brunelleschi and Vasari were also interior decorators of the palace. Building which is now the headquarters of the People's University of the Florentine city. Continue to present our walk to the Mercato Nuovo New Market. It is right next to here because we can see it from where we are: it is in the Carpaccio Street, one block later, on the opposite sidewalk. In approaching you, stop in front of the fountain located at the edge of the building. It is decorated with a bronze boar.

The Fountain "piglets" and the New Market loggia

The fountain we can admire is called by the inhabitants of the city, the Porcellino, "the pig" because of the presence of the wild boar in bronze made in the 17th century by Pietro Tacca. This work is a copy of a marble 3rd century BC offered Cosimo I de Medici, Duke of Tuscany, by Pope Paul 4. Ancient sculpture is now exhibited in the Vasari Corridor, a long gallery '1 km connecting the Old Palace of the Piazza della Signoria to Palazzo Pitti. But the work that we see is more a curiosity than anything else. For, toss a coin in the bowl and you will return to Florence. Tradition or superstition, whatever ... Do not hesitate to indulge yourself! Let's return to the theme of this walk: the Middle Ages. And are entering the New Market loggia: The loggia is not here on the top floor, but on the ground floor. This is the arcade building. We are in the New Market loggia. Look around you. Crafts and souvenirs evoke the market that filled the scene. A very evocative new market from the excitement of this business area since the Middle Ages until the 19th century. But why "new" market? As opposed to the old market, formerly occupying the place of the Republic ... and we mentioned at the beginning of this walk. But also want to novelty, as wished Cosimo 1st de Medici in the 16th century, head of government of Florence and Duke of Tuscany. For Cosimo, set up by the Emperor Charles V, wanted to consolidate his power by modernizing the city: he puts on artistic beauties and rethinking urban planning: it changes the decoration of the government palace; he adorns the square of the Lordship of artwork; he painted the dome of the cathedral; it creates the Centers; it renovates the business district ... Huge sponsorship operations, thanks to the wealth accumulated by the city and by the Florentine state. But back to the loggia where we are. Its location in the city is not only a deliberate choice, but also a strategic choice because the new market was built as an extension of the Via Calimala Street leading to the Republic Square. Thus an ideal situation. Why ? Only the name of Calimala can you reveal the secret. "Cali - mala": "bad street" would it be a mention of the dubious activities of the street? Perhaps once, long history, but already in the Middle Ages when Florence was rising economically, thanks to the wool trade, and sheets ... Yes, because this is where the guild of drapers was . And Florence, that's saying something! This corporation was in the Middle Ages the core of the wealth of the city; She was also a model for the origin of the civil organization of the city - economic and political. Democracy which managed the corporation was a model for the establishment of the government of Florence. We can now stand out from the balcony to go to Orsanmichele. To this end, cross Via Porta Rossa along the balcony to take all the via Calimala. From there, turn, about 30 meters from here, the first street on the right. Then take the first street on your left, Via dell'Arte della Lana, the street of the wool art: a name could not be more evocative after visiting the New Market! You will be in front of a building decorated with statues in niches: it is the Orsanmichele church.

Florence Orsanmichele

Are you well before Orsanmichele? If so, you should see 3 saints, each in their niche. Well ... then let's see the history of this curious building, because if you look at the upper floors, there is no indication that this is a church ... This building, in the heart of the economic area of ​​the city, is well CHURCH Corporations Florentine city. And it is indicated all the statues that decorate the outside because each character registered in a niche is the patron saint of one of the medieval guilds. Let us face. From left to right, Matthew is thus the patron saint changers, St. Etienne the center, woolen, and St. Eloi Smiths. On the left side of the building, we have represented the patron saints of butchers, shoemakers, carpenters, armourers; on the right side, so are discussed medicine and flea market and crafts related to silk, to fur. Finally the opposite side, the patron saints of judges and lawyers, trade and Calimala, the most famous Florentine guilds and prouder. These three patron saints whose importance is undoubtedly are also located on Via Calzaiuoli, the street connecting the political and religious powers. A symbol ... showcase the power of the economy in the city! Now go around the whole church to discover some of these statues because if they reveal the economy of a city, they are also a veritable outdoor museum of Florentine sculpture from the 14th to 16th century . The most famous of the early 15th century. We will turn in the direction of clockwise. But first let's start with what is facing us, the St. Stephen in the center of this wall. (Outside visit: Saint Georges de Donatello: 1 on the left side 4 holy Nanni di Banco: the second on the left side then St. Thomas Verrocchio = trade center on Via Calzaiuoli return "square" on the right side Orsanmichele is an apology and crafts. This is reflected by the building in the tower; but it's also what transpires in the interior. And that's why we invite you to visit the interior of the church. Admission is facing us via dell'Arte della Lana. Inside visit: some patron saints situated on significant dimensions of the corporations and the altar is in the fund right for painting Bernardo Daddi: our lady of grace. N.B. The frescoes are erased. Can we see well the following saints: Saint Jean Baptist just at the entrance on the left pillar and St. Julian on the right pillar (saint carrying on his back a leper to cross a river) On one of the two main pillars of the church: the first from the entrance: on the side facing the altar Sainte Annunciation representative of annunciation and the nativity, protective art Carpenters. The tour ends with the altar. It is possible to visit the upper room through the palace of the Wool, a corridor above Via dell'Arte della Lana connects the two buildings. Visiting Orsanmichele is now complete, then continue our walk towards the house of the master of Italian literature, Dante Alighieri. For this cross-Via Calzaiuoli and take the street to the left of the San Carlo church facing Orsanmichele. This street perpendicular to Via Calzaiuoli is called Via dei Tavolini. Meet us for it at the entrance. Are you good at the entrance to the Via dei Tavolini? So take straight to the first small plot. On it you will see on the right a chapel, the Capella San Martino, the Saint Martin chapel. And now, take the street in the extension of Via dei Tavolini called Via Dante Alighieri. It is on your right out of the chapel. From there, about fifty meters, you will find yourself again on a small square, behind which is the House of Dante. You'll recognize its truncated tower. Let's face it. We are on the place of Dante Alighieri. Face her bust installed in the square. Now finish our walk by continuing the street from Dante to the end. Notice oh this narrow street has the charm of being deserted by the crowd; it even seems almost wild with weeds exceeding the high walls located on the right. Ultimately course, we arrive in Via del Proconsolo. On the right and on the opposite sidewalk, a huge brick building: the Bargello Palace, the National Museum Florentine sculpture. We find them at the entrance to evoke what was the medieval democracy at a time when the Medici did not yet ruled the city.