Located in the centre of Florence lies the Piazza della Repubblica, one of the city’s top tourist attractions.

It features a large roundabout surrounded by beautiful buildings, with an exquisite fountain nestled in the centre. These days it is a bustling square full of cafes, restaurants, and locals going about their day, but it is one of Florence’s most historic sites to date.

The History of Piazza della Repubblica

The Piazza has always been a bustling centre throughout history, once being the site for both the city’s former Roman Forum and the old ghetto. It dates back to the medieval times, continuously the centre for main city streets crossings, popular markets, as well as being commercial, political, and social hub of the time. Many myths and stories related to Florence originate in the Piazza della Repubblica.

With the most popular being of St. Peter Marty, who in 1245 was trying to preach to the crowd within the square. However, while preaching, the devil appeared, posing as a black horse. The devil caused chaos, running wild in the centre, crashing into market stalls and those listening to St. Peter Marty. St. Peter raised his arms, making the signal of the cross, causing the devil to halt and disappear from the piazza. Centuries after this story began, Bernardo Vecchietti commissioned Giambologna to design a statue telling this tale. Leading him to create a bronze standard-bearer, shaped like a small devil, nestled in the corner of the palace between via Vecchietti and via Strozzi.

The Design of the Piazza della Repubblica

Despite being able to see remnants of the Roman-like streets and buildings, the centre is very different from its original appearance. With features of the medieval-styled Old Market and Mercato Vecchio tore down in the 19th century. One of the only remaining things left from this ancient time is the column, which marks the exact centre of Roman Florence. The column features the figure of Abbondanza, who is known to watch over the stalls people within the piazza’s markets.

This piazza is home to one of the greatest markets in Florence. Selling a range of items from leather goods, fashion items, arts and crafts, or even a few antique items. The stunning scenery of historic buildings and the stunning fountain make this shopping trip unlike any other. As the dramatic ruins and stone streets compliment the friendly locals and shops perfectly. A visit in the evening brings a completely different experience to the markets, with the restaurants open and bustling with both locals and tourists, making it the perfect place to enjoy a late coffee or delicious cocktail as you people watch the piazza.

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