Palazzo Vecchio palace by Arnolfo di Cambio

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Judith and Holofernes see all

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Free-Standing Sculpture

High Renaissance



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Holofernes see all

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December 1

There was an election in the Palagio, and Niccolo Soderini became Gonfaloniere. He reduced the tax on wine to 14 soldi, for which the people called down blessings on his head.


The Tribunale della Mercanzia, the judicial organ of the Guilds in Florence, commissions from Andrea del Verrocchio a bronze group portraying Christ and St. Thomas for the centre tabernacle.


May 27

A Monday, the gilt copper ball was put up on the lantern of the cupola of Santa Maria del Fiore(1).

October 22

It was voted in the Palagio that sealed florins should no longer be used in trade,(1) but florins as large as grossi, at 5 lire 11 soldi, the florin of grossi, at 20 quattrini the grosso; and they were fixed at 20 per cent. higher. It was also voted that the property of the (Guelf) party should be sold.


April 26

At about 15 in the forenoon (11 a.m.) in Santa Maria del Fiore, whilst high mass was being celebrated and the Host elevated, Giuliano, son of Piero, son of Cosimo de' Medici, and Francesco Nori were killed, near the choir of the said church towards the door which goes to the Servi; and Lorenzo de' Medici was wounded in the neck, and fled into the sacristy and escaped. They were killed in consequence of a certain conspiracy made by Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi and Franceschino de' Pazzi and Guglielmo de' Pazzi, the which Guglielma was he brother-in-law of Lorenzo de' Medici, his wife being a sister of theirs, called Bianca. And the sons of Messer Piero de' Pazzi were also there, that is, Andrea and Renato and Niccolo; and of the house of Salviati, there were Francesco, Bishop of Pisa, and Jacopo Salviati, who was son-in-law to Filippo Tornabuoni, and another Jacopo also a Salviati, and Jacopo, son of Messer Poggio, Bracciolini and Bernardo Bandini of the house of Baroncegli, and Amerigo Corsi, and many others. The conspirators brought Cardinal di San Giorgio(1) here, who was a young man; he entered Florence on the day above-mentioned, and they all came together in Santa Maria del Fiore, and, as I have said, at the elevation of the Host seized their swords, and it is said that Francesco de' Pazzi struck Giuliano, and Bandini the other. And having killed Giuliano they wanted to kill Lorenzo, but did not succeed, as he fled into the sacristy. Meantime the Bishop de' Salviati, with Jacopo, son of Messer Poggio, and two of his relatives who were both called Jacopo, went to the Palagio, with several priests, feigning to desire to speak to the Signoria, and they spoke to the Gonfaloniere, and became somewhat confused. The Gonfaloniere perceived the treachery, and he and his companions shut themslves up here and there, and ordered the doors to be closed, and the bell run for a parlamento. And what with the rumour which came from Santa Maria del Fiore of Giuliano's death and the bell ringing at the Palagio, the city was immediately in arms. And Lorenzo de' Medici was taken to his house. Meantime Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi rushed on horseback to the Piazza de' Signori, crying "Popolo e liberta!" (The People and Liberty!), wishing to take the Palagio, but the bishop not having succeeded in getting possession of it, Messer Jacopo was not able to enter. He then went towards his own house, and was advised to take to flight; and he fled by the Porta all Croce, together with many men-at-arms, in the Piazza and at Lorenzo de' Medici's house. And numbers of men on the side of the conspirators were killed in the Piazza; amongst others a priest of the bishop's was killed there, his body being quartered and the head cut off, and then the head was stuck on the top of a lance, and carried about Florence the whole day, and one quarter of his body was carried on a spit all through the city, with the cry of: "Death to the traitors!" That same evening the cardinal was taken to the Palagio, barely escaping with his life, all his companions being captured without exception.



Leonardo da Vinci receives a commission to paint an altarpiece for the Chapel of the Signoria in the Palazzo Vecchio.

March 25

The Holy Father gave a plenary indulgence in Santa Maria del Fiore for one day, from vespers on the 24th March till the next vespers, on the 25th March, which people availed themselves of with great devotion. The Cause of this was the preaching of Brother Antonio da Vergiegli in Santa Maria del Fiore during Lent, which bore good fruit.

May 1

The new Signoria entered into office. That evening Andrea de' Pazzi and Brigliaino(1) were captured. And also, the same evening, returning from Pisa, Messer Piero Vespucci was captured and taken to the Palagio, as it was said that he had aided the escape of a man concerned in the plot.

May 3

At about 18 in the afternoon (2 p.m.), a priest(1) was captured in the Badia of Florence, who was a chancellor (secretary) of Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi, and another at the same time, from Volterra(2); they had remained hidden there from the day of the murder till now. And that evening Brigliaino and one of the cardinal's chancellors were hung at the windows of the Palagio, and when the ropes were cut, they fell down on the platform. The soldiers quarreled over robbing the dead bodies of doublets and hose.

June 7

He (Cardinal di San Giorgio) was accompanied by the "Eight"(1) and many citizens from the Palagio to the Nunziata; and he was in dread of being killed by the populace. That same day the Pope excommunicated us.

September 14

Brolio was taken by assault. And on the same day a man died of plague, in the Casa del Capitano(1), in prison, to which he had been condemned for life; and another man who was sick of the plague was taken out of prison and carried to the hospital of La Scala,(2) where all those sick of the plague were carried. At this time the plague had increased so much, that 40 or more were sick at the hospital, and 7 or 8 died every day, and some days even 11; besides others in the district who did not go to the hospital.


September 2

Two silk-mercers' shops in Porta Santa Maria, near Vacchereccia(1) were burnt down; and the other night the whole Canto di Vacchereccia as far as the Chiassolino del Buco was burnt down.(2) And the fire rushed across to the opposite side of the street and burnt down all the other corner of the Vacchereccia, destroying about 20 shops of the silk-mercers and money-changers. There was great loss, many having all their property consumed.


Christ and St. Thomas is placed in position on the east facade of Orsanmichele.

June 21

In a tabernacle in Orto Sa' Michele there was placed the figure of San Tommaso beside Jesus, and the Jesus in bronze, which is the most beautiful thing imaginable, and the finest head of the Saviour that has as yet been made; it is by Andrea del Verrocchio.


October 23

The State arrested a son of Filippo Tornabuoni, called Alessandro, and he was confined within certain boundaries in Sicily. It was said to be because he had designs against Lorenzo de' Medici, who was his relative; this may not have been the case, but I only repeat what was said.(1)


April 10

Two long and thick oak beams, of great weight, were hoisted up to the top of the tower of the Palagio de' Signori, to support the big bell and adjust it better.


June 24

The Day of San Giovanni. Whilst mass was being said, a Bolognese was arrested who was cutting of the tassels of the men's belts and stealing them; and within an hour, not having any regard for the sanctity of such a saint, they hung the thief at the windows of the Palagio del Capitano. And his body remained there till the evening, when the attendants went and took it down. At this hour a strong wind arose, and there was such a tempest of rain and hail as the like was never seen. The awnings(1) which are placed in the Piazza di San Giovanni were torn into thousands of pieces, and became worthless rags, so that it was necessary to have entirely new ones. This was thought to be a wonderful and marvellous thing, which had happened on account of the homicide. It was terrible in the eyes of wise and prudent men, because it seemed to have been done by the people out of rage, as he was a Bolognese, and these marzocchi had been burnt at Bologna a few days before. They were in rather too great a fury; they might have waited till another day. And it was impossible for the palio to be run that evening.

September 12

The Palagio de' Signori was struck by a thunderbolt at about 14 in the morning (10 a.m.).; it struck the lion and pursued its way downards. There were two strangers at the top, just next to the bells, when it happened, a chancellor of the Pitigliani and another. The former fell unconscious, as if dead, and the other was little better; however, they did not die after all. Neither was there a great deal of injury done to the Palagio. It seemed wonderful that this should have happened to two strangers, when there hundreds of Florentines in the Palagio. People went to look at the tower and the bells afterwards.


May 1

The coinage was changed: that is, silver coins began to be used; and it was decided that the grossone should be worth 16 quattrini and a half, like the old silver ones. All the taxes were to be paid in silver, which meant a little increase to the people, as a quarter more had to be paid, when there was need, on the contrary, to relieve them. This increase was made by divine permission, on account of our sins; because the poor are generally worse than the rich and great. Praise be to God!


April 26

Lorenzo and Giovanni, sons of Piero Francesco de' Medici, were detained in the Palagio; and it was said that some wished them to be put to death, but the reason was not given. On the 29th they were liberated; and on the 14th May they went away, being restricted within certain boundaries.(1)

November 5

Certain messengers of the King of France arrived and went about Florence marking the houses which they preferred. They came indoors and entered all the rooms, marking one for such and such a lord, and another for such and such a baron.

November 9

About 20 in the afternoon (4 p.m.), when it was ringing for vespers,(1) Piero son of Lorenzo de' Medici wished to go to the Signoria in the Palagio, taking his armed men with him. The Signori not allowing this, he did not choose to go alone, and turned back.(1) Now men began to collect in the Piazza, and in the Palagio were heard cries of Popolo e Liberta! (The People and Liberty!), whilst the bell was rung for a parlamento, and men appeared at the windows with the same cry. Immediately the Gonfaloniere del Bue(2) came into the Piazza, and behind him Francesco Valori and other citizens on horseback, all crying Popolo e Liberta! These were the first to arrive; but before an hour had passed, the Piazza was filled with all the Gonfaloni and all the citizens, troops of armed men crying loudly, Popolo e Liberta! Although the people did not very well understand what all this tumult was about, nevertheless not many citizens went to Piero de' Medici's house. The Tornabuoni and some other citizens went there armed, with many men under their command, and coming into the street before his door, cried, Palle! Piero then mounted his horse, to come into the Piazza with his men, starting several times, and then stopping again. I think that he perceived how few citizens were with him, and also he must have been told that the Piazza was full of armed men. Meanwhile the cardinal, his brother, left his house, accompanied by many soldiers and by those citizens who were there, and came down the Corso as far as Orto San Michele, crying Popolo e Liberta like the rest; declaring that he separated himself from Piero. The only consequence was that the Piazza turned against him, menacing him with the points of their weapons shouting at him as a traitor, and not choosing to accept him. He turned back, not without danger. And now a proclamation was issued, at the Canto della Macina(3) and in the Via de' Martegli(4) next to the Chiassolino (little alley) ordering every foreigner to lay down his arms, and forbidding anyone on pain of death to aid or abet Piero de' Medici. In consequence of this, many abandoned Piero and laid down their arms. They dropped off on all sides, so that few remained with him. Therefore Piero left this house and went towards the Porta a San Gallo, which he had caused to be kept open for him by his brother Giuliano with many soldiers and by friends outside. Signor Pagolo Orsini was waiting outside with horses and armed men in readiness to enter, but it did not seem the right moment, and when Piero arrived they decided it would be best to go away, taking Giuliano with them. The poor young cardinal remained in his house, and I saw him at a window kneeling with joined hands, praying Heaven to have mercy. I was much touched when I saw him, considering him to be a good lad and of upright character. It was said that when he had seen Piero ride away, he disguised himself as a monk and took his departure also. Another proclamation was published in the Piazza, announcing that whoever slew Piero de' Medici should have 2 thousand ducats and whoever slew the cardinal should have a thousand. And after this many soldiers left the Piazza with Jacopo de' Nerli, and going to the house of Ser Giovanni son of Ser Bartolomeo,(5) pillaged it. And then the crowd rose, with the cry of Antonio di Bernardo,(5) and pillaged his house also, and pillaged the Bargello. The number of soldiers and of the people going about robbing increased every moment; and this all happened before 24 in the evening (8 p.m.), less than four hours from when the disturbance began. Then the Signoria published a proclamation forbidding any more houses to be pillaged, on pain of death; and the Gonfaloni went about the city all night to guard it, crying Popolo e Liberta, carrying lighted torches, so that no more harm was done, except that a certain serving-man of the Bargello who cried Palle, was killed in the Piazza. And now Girolamo son of Marabotto Tornabuoni, and Pierantonio Carnesecchi, and others of that party, turned and cried Popolo e Liberta like the rest. When they were about to enter the Piazza, however, weapons were pointed against them, and they were only saved by their cuirasses, and had to escape as best they might. In fact, Girolamo Tornabuoni had his cuirass torn off in Orto San Michele, but when he begged for mercy, his life was spared. And Giovan Francesco Tornabuoni was severely wounded in the throat, and returned home. When the disturbance began, some of the French who were quartered in Florence armed themselves and joined Piero's party, crying Francia. I believe it was pointed out to them that the matter was between citizens only, and that if they were to do anything against the Palagio, they would put themselves in the wrong; therefore they acted accordingly, returning to their lodgings and then going about the city unarmed.(6)

November 9

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci:

November 16

Many decorations were made for the king's arrival in the house of Piero de' Medici, and principally at the entrance of the palace. Two large columns were erected outside, one on each side of the gate, with ornamentation representing the arms of France, etc., too intricate to describe. It truly was a triumph; everything was done so well and on such a grand scale. I will not even begin to tell you how the interior was ordered. And spiritegli(1) and giants and triumphal cars went about the town, and stages on wheels for the miracle-play of the Nunziata, whilst there were innumerable embellishments and the arms of France all over Florence. Above the gate of the Palagio de' Signori were the said arms, very large and magnificently blazoned.

November 19

He again heard mass in Sa' Lorenzo; and then went for a ride through Florence, going to see the lions.(1) And it was his wish that some of the prisoners in the Palagio del Capitano should be liberated, those namely who were detained for political reasons; amongst them a Ser Lorenzo, and an Andrea, and others; and this desire of his to benefit the prisoners on the occasion of his passing through the town was granted.

November 24

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci:

December 14

14th December (Sunday). We heard how those Frenchmen who were marking the houses in Rome had been driven away, and many had been killed; the Romans wishing to defend themselves and not accept the Frenchmen in their city.

December 22


April 9


Michelangelo is commissioned to paint a mural, The Battle of Cascina, in the council hall of the Palazzo Vecchio.
Leonardo da Vinci returns to Florence where he is commissioned to paint a mural, The Battle of Anghiari, in the council hall in Florence's Palazzo Vecchio.

October 24

Leonardo da Vinci is assigned the Sala del Papa in S. Maria Novella to begin work on the cartoon for the Battle of Anghiari.


May 4

The mural for the Council Hall of Florence was commissioned from Leonardo with a contract of 4 May 1504, signed by Machiavelli as secretary of the Republic; but Leonardo had already begun working on the cartoon in the Sala del Papa in S. Maria Novella, which had been assigned to him on 24 October of the preceding year.


Leonardo's work on the cartoon of the Battle of Anghiari was suddenly interrupted in the last months of 1504, and he went to Piombino on a somewhat official mission as a military architect. (During his absence Michelangelo was to receive the commission for the Battle of Cascina.) His mission was preceded by a diplomatic action conducted by Machiavelli himself. It can be inferred, therefore, that it was Machiavelli who suggested Leonardo's name for the programme of fortification projects suggested by Jacopo IV Appiano, Lord of Piombino, an ally of the Florentines at the time of the Pisian war, 1503-4, when Leonardo had already been consulted on the project of diverting the Arno River for strategic reasons, and when Antonio da Sangallo the Elder was the chief military architect of the Florentine Republic. Leonardo's activity at Piombino, revealed by newly discovered evidence, included the study of the city walls, the citadel and the main gate.


July 6

Leonardo da Vinci begins painting the Battle of Anghiari in the Palazzo Vecchio with the help of a few assistants.


Leonardo da Vinci took three months' leave of absence from his work on the Battle of Anghiari mural in Florence to go to Milan in the service of the French governor Charles d'Amboise, who commissioned the project of a house and garden from him.


The fragment of Leonardo's mural, the Battle of Anghiari, was protected with a wooden frame soon after the return of the Medici to Florence, when the rest of the room was dismantled and eliminated, as we everything referring to the preceding republican government.


Leonardo da Vinci applied to join the confraternity of S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Rome, probably in a moment of depression at a court which had little or no consideration for him, in the hope that a religious institution could provide him with quiet shelter and affectionate assistance, and to which he could leave all his possessions, just as he was leaving drawings and other belongings to another religious institution in Florence, the hospital of S. Maria Novella, in which he was accommodated at the time he was working on the Battle of Anghiari.



The full-size modello for Giambologna's Florence Triumphant Over Pisa is erected opposite Michelangelo's group in the Palazzo Vecchio.



Giambologna's statue group of Florence Triumphant Over Pisa is finally installed in the Hall of the Five Hundred in place of its whitewashed clay model on the occasion of Ferdinando's wedding to Christina of Lorraine.

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