Piazza della Repubblica Florence: heart of Florence!
Piazza della Repubblica Florence: one of the fulcrums of Florence city centre along with Piazza del Duomo (the seat of the cathedral, bell tower, baptistery), Piazza della Repubblica has a history longer than the Duomo one, and many stories to tell.
Piazza della Repubblica Florence: a very old piazza!
Piazza della Repubblica is not one of the many Renaissance, or medieval, Florence features. Actually its origin dates to the Ancient Rome: it was the forum of the city (forum denoting the main square of a Roman settlement), its market plaza.
The area, according to the XIX Century excavations, included a thermae complex and at least a temple.
But in the dark ages the situation was a quite different one…
Medieval Piazza della Repubblica Florence (or, quite not a square)
In the Middle Ages the open area was much smaller, because of urbanization: a labyrinth of dark and stinking alleys, with an elliptic open area in the center, the actual market with its stalls, covered by a marquee to protect the stalls and customers.
An area renamed Mercato Vecchio, the Old Market, when the new one was built in the XVI Century.
Under Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519-1574) the area became the Florence Ghetto. Piazza della Repubblica was completely restored while Florence was proclaimed the capital of Italy, with massive works and demolitions between 1865 and 1871.
It was the beginning of Piazza della Repubblica second life.
Piazza della Repubblica Florence: XIX, XX, XXI centuries
The restoration was, in a way, a big mistake: a lot of artefacts were lost, while many were saved becoming part of the Villa Bardini museum, the Horne, the Firenze com’era ones.
The fish market, la Loggia del Pesce, was rebuilt in Piazza Ciompi in 1956.
Today Piazza della Repubblica is indeed one of the most visited areas of the city center, at it connects many must-see sites.
Piazza della Repubblica hosts also one of the most iconic Florence cafè: to another post!