Loggia dei Lanzi
Loggia dei Lanzi is a roofed stone building with open walls on two sides. It is situated on the southeast corner of the Piazza della Signoria. It houses many unbelievable statues. They are very intense and grandiose.
As you walk up the steps you will notice huge marble lions flank them. There is a stunning statue of Menelaus Holding up the Body of Patroclus. You might recognize this if you have read The Iliad or know the tale of the Trojan War. There is a statue of Hercules Defeating the Centaur Nessus, by Giambologna. Another is one of the best marble statues in the world Rape of the Sabine Women, by the same artist. Then there is another group work of The Rape of Polyxena, by Pio Fedi. He created this masterpiece around 1855 and is considered his most famous work.
One of my favorites is the bronze statue of Perseus Holding the Head of Medusa. The statue is massive. The base of the statue is beautifully carved. Benvenuto Cellini created this spectacular piece. This remarkable statue stands just outside the entry steps below the overhanging roof. Perseus has just cut off Medusa’s head and is holding it up in the air. You know what they say so be careful not to look at it and be turned to stone.
If you walk directly away from the front of the Perseus statue for a few yards you will see a round plaque on the ground. This is a historical spot. This spot marks where the monk Girolamo Savonarola, who once ruled Florence. Savonarola demanded all the items of beauty in the city confiscated. From jewelry, art, sculpture, mirrors, hairbrushes, etc. piled up and burned, calling it The Bonfire of the Vanities. Later on the Pope accused Savonarola of heresy and blasphemy and was eventually garroted and then burned on the same spot.
But whatever you do, don't lean on the base or touch any of the statues. A man guards them day and night with a whistle. He will pounce on you and tell you off.
The Loggia dei Lanz is not only worth a visit in order to see the beautiful art, but it's also a good place to rest. It's a central location and easy to find. It's a perfect place to meet up with friends or family. The musicians around the plaza are wonderful to listen too. It is also a great place to watch the tourists as they stroll by.