Piazza della Repubblica
Piazza della Repubblica (Republic Square) is situated in Florence. It is a city square, situated on the city’s former forum and old ghetto, both of which became a victim to the Risanamento or the improvement work done for the city. The Risanamento movement was initiated when Florence had been a part of united Italy, an era which bore witness to the beautiful introduction of the avenues and boulevards in the charming city of Florence. The Loggia del Pesce was later moved to Piazza Ciompi, from the Mercato Vecchio, and the ghetto was completely removed from the square.
The Piazza della Repubblica is a quadrangular building and has great historical importance, because of it being situated on the forum. Where the two Roman roads of Cardo and Decumanus intersected in the past, now stands the imposing and high structure of the Pillar of Abundance. This pillar is the only remembrance of the Piazza del Mercato, made in 1431, and has a stone statue of Dovizia or Abbondanza, made by Giovan Battista Foggini. This statue was a replacement of the original made by Donatello, which had irreparably eroded.
In the 19th century the remains of an old religious building was found in the south side of the thermae complex, when the medieval roads were demolished. The Via delle Terme and the Via del Campidoglio, have been named after the historical remains beneath them. Giovanni Villani, an old chronicler has reported that at one time, there was a temple of Mars, eitherI on or near the Piazza della Repubblica, which was a determining factor of the war like character of the city’s inhabitants.
The Risanamento movement in 1885 to 1895, saw the destruction of some of the most important historical landmarks of the period, in order to expand the boundaries of the square, which was essential to improve the sanitary conditions of the city. The building of the square resulted in loss of some very important and fine works of art, whereas only a few were rescued and returned, or donated to the square later. The original appearance of the square before the demolition is depicted superbly in the drawings, paintings and prints in the “Traces of Florence” Museum, in Palazzo Vecchio.
On 20 September 1890 a monument was inaugurated, which was built in the honor of Vittorio Emanuele II, which gave the piazza its name. The sculpture has been moved to Piazza delle Cascine, and is thus no longer a part of the square. The construction of the square was done based on the prevalent architectural design and fashion of the period, by Telemaco Signorini. The building was designed by the famous architects Giuseppe Boccini, Vincenzo Micheli and Luigi Buonamici. The building was transformed into a structure which became the center of the town and a commercial hub. Since then numerous restaurants, cafes, palaces and hotels have been built around it, and the Piazzo della Repubblica towers above all enjoying its importance in history. The Republic Square is a site to behold, showcasing its rich history and elegant architectural heritage. The famous Caffe’ delle Giubbe Rosse, where the most famous and talented artists and scholars met, is also located in the square.
The Republic Square is a fine specimen of the Florentine Renaissance architecture, and a charming sight for quenching the thirst of art enthusiasts. The exquisitely designed porticoes with their amazing arch design, is called “Arcone“, which was designed by the great architect Micheli himself. The arch has a historic inscription on it, which was dictated by Isidoro del Lungo, and translates as depicting the rich history of the Republic Square of rising as a symbol of hope and a new life from the ancient center of a great city.
The North side is about 75 meters long and presents a single side, which houses famous cafes like Caffe’ Gilli. The west side, where was to be found the original location of Cafe Gambrinus and Cinema Gambrinus, now contains the Hard Rock Cafè. The south side of the square houses the famous Caffe’ delle Giubbe Rosse, which is completely covered with paintings and pictures of famous historical patrons of Futuristic movement. The building on the East side is the Savoy Hotel, built by Vincenzo Micheli.
The Piazza della Repubblica is a necessary site for every tourist, without which their tour of Florence will never be completed.