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Florence Italy Renaissance sights

Florence abounds in Renaissance architecture, which creates enchanting ensemble with the edifices of later epochs. The most famous architectural complex is located on Piazza della Signoria. This square, named after Palazzo della Signoria (Palazzo Vecchio), has an unusual L-shape and has been the center of the political events since the Middle Ages. Among the many sculptures found here are the Fountain of Neptune, a replica of Michelangelo's "David," and Donatello's "Marzocco." This 1565 fountain was designed and sculpted predominantly by Ammannati, and shows a bronze statue of Neptune, which sits in the center of the fountain, surrounded by naiads and satyrs.

Ognissanti, meaning "All Saints," was founded in the 13th century by an order of monks who were responsible for bringing the wool trade to Florence. Shortly thereafter, Giotto painted the "Maestà" for the high altar. The edifice was a parish church of the Vespucci family, the most famous member of which was Amerigo Vespucci, in honour of whom Americas are named.

Battisterio San Giovanni was founded in 11th century. The building exudes an Italian-Romanesque style. The structure itself is magnificent, but the three sets of bronze doors (first created by Andrea Pisano and later completed by Lorenzo Ghiberti), presenting the scenes of Old and New Testament, are so beautiful, that Michelangelo called them “The Gates to Paradise”. It remains the principal spiritual centre of the city, the majority of children being baptized there.

Piazzale Michelangiolo is a charming architectural complex, adorned with the replicas of Michelangelo’s David and the Medici chapel sculptures. It allows a splendid view of the city. Mercato Nuovo means "New Market," despite the fact that this market emerged in 16th century. At that times merchandise as silk, gold and wool were traded there, nowadays it sells souvenirs, trinkets, leather goods. The market got the nickname “Porcellino” (piglet) after Tacca's 17th century fountain of a boar, which used to stand in the market's center. The legend tells that rubbing the snout of the boar and tossing coins in the fountain will bring good luck.

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