The Palazzo Vecchio is the city hall of Florence, capital of Tuscany in Italy. This palace-fortress, shaped parallelepiped located in Piazza della Signoria, is one of the most beautiful buildings of the city. It borders the Loggia dei Lanzi and the Uffizi. Its name goes back to the transfer of the Medici for the new Pitti palace located on the other side of the Arno, from there, the palace will be called vecchio ("old" in Italian).
The construction of the palace began in 1299 under the direction of the architect Arnolfo di Cambio. Originally it bore the name of Palazzo della Signoria (Palace of the Signoria) and was the seat of the Government of Florence (Signoria). At the end of the thirteenth century, the city of Florence decided to build a palace, to show its power and guarantee greater security to the magistrates of the city, in this period of trouble. It will house the Signoria (the "Lordship"), that is to say the government of the Florentine Republic.
The building is attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio, the architect of the duomo and the church Santa Croce. Its construction began in 1299 and will end in 1314. The palace was erected on the ruins of the Palazzo dei Fanti and the Palazzo dell'Esecutore di Giustizia. Arnolfo di Cambio relied on the ancient tower of the Vacca family and the Bizzo family in the structure of the facade. That's why the tower (94 m high) is not in the middle of the building. This tower contains two small cells, of which one sees the small windows of the Alberghetto at half height and which served as prison to Cosme the old (1433) and Jerome Savonarole (1498). The watchtower bears the name of its designer Torre di Arnolfo, it is a belfry of typical Tuscan architectural style, crenellated. The clock was originally built by Donatello, but was replaced in 1667 by a Vincenzo Viviani clock. A replica of Michelangelo's David is on the public square, in front of the building, a symbolic and symbolic strategic location (power, and then tourist, today), as well as Hercules and Cacus of Baccio Bandinelli.© Photo of Emmanuel Buchot
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