Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria is the central square of Florence, seat of the civil power with Palazzo Vecchio and heart of the social life of the city. It has an L-shape and is in the central part of medieval Florence, south of the Dome and near Ponte Vecchio and the river Arno.
On the square there are Palazzo Vecchio, built between 1299 and 1314, it was the residence of the ducal family Medici, and the Loggia della Signoria or dei Lanzi, built between 1376 and 1381 with function of covered "arengario”, that is a balcony where to harangue the crowd during the official ceremonies.
In front of Palazzo Vecchio there are the most ancient sculptures: the Marzocco and Judith and Holofernes (1455-60), both works of Donatello, replaced with copies.
The Marzocco is a powerful lion that puts a paw on the symbol with the Florence's lily, and it has become a symbol of the city.
Judith is a symbol of the political autonomy of the Republic of Florence. In fact it was robbed from the Medici Palace, after the first expulsion of the Medici(1495), where it adorned a fountain in the garden, and symbolizes therefore the victory of the people against the tyrants. When the Medici returned, although they repurchased a great part of their patrimony, Judith remained in the square in order not to offend the sensibility of the people.
A second chapter of this quarrel between the Medici and the Republic is represented by the David by Michelangelo, today replaced with a copy. Michelangelo sculpted it around 1500 and its meaning is to be an anchor for the people (symbolized by David) that, with the help of God, defeats the tyrant (Goliath).