Loggia dei Lanzi
The Loggia dei Lanzi is located adjacent to the Palazzo Vecchio on the Piazza della Signoria. It is an open-air gallery designed by Orcagna in 1376, a structure with graceful curved arches supporting a vaulted ceiling. It consists of wide arches open to the street and the alternate name Loggia della Signoria comes from its location along one side of Piazza della Signoria, adjoining the Uffizi Gallery. The name Loggia dei Lanzi has been used since the mid-sixteenth century, when the place was used by Grand Duke Cosimo I to house the German mercenary pikemen, known as “Lanzichenecchi.” Since the sixteenth century, with the creation of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Loggia became an expression of Medici power and was intended to accommodate some sculptural masterpieces, becoming one of the first open-air exhibition areas in the world. Note that the sculptures were not positioned according to merely aesthetic criteria, but also to affirm and represent specific political meanings. After the construction of the Uffizi, Buontalenti created a roof garden above the arches of the Loggia and the roof became a terrace from which the Medici could watch ceremonies in the piazza (today, it is one of the most spectacular terraces in Florence, attached to the Uffizi Museum, and it houses the museum’s bar and various events). Entrance is gained via a central stairway flanked by a pair of two huge Medici lions, symbolic of Florence; the one on the right dates from Roman times, while the one on the left was sculpted by Flaminio Vacca in 1598 (photo to the right). The more prominent statues are pictured in the table below.
|Sculptures in the Loggia dei Lanzi
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|Cellini's Perseus||Giambologna's Rape of the Sabine Women||Giambologna's Hercules beating the Centaur Nessus||Menelaus supporting the body of Patroclus