Secrets of Florence in the Heart of the City!
The well-known treasures of Florence entice many visitors to the city, and with good reason. However, do you know the secrets of Florence?
While Florence is full of wonderful sights, it also has its share of secrets, many hidden in plain sight. You can easily found them right in the heart of the city if you just know where to look. Walk through Florence with me and learn about 17th-century entrepreneurs that came up with a clever happy hour option, a window with a view to a shocking conspiracy, and a “scandalous” symbol marking the palace of a notable Florentine resident…
17th Century Happy Hour
It is Friday after a long week of work. You might appreciate an after-work drink right about now. If this were 17th-century Florence, you might be able to get that pretty easily on your way home. Back then, noble families saw an opportunity to make money by bringing wine from their vineyards and selling it directly to customers from their palaces in the city. This was done through “wine windows” in ground-level cellars called buchette del vino. Hours of operation were strictly enforced but if you stopped by at the right time you could provide your empty bottle and some coins and buy your wine direct, eliminating the costly middle man. Talk about a Renaissance!
Window with a View….to a Conspiracy!
Ready for a good conspiracy? Just walk a block over from the famous Duomo where you will find Palazzo Pucci. This was the home of the Pucci family and they were close friends and allies of the Medici. However, when Pandolfo Pucci committed an act of immorality, Cosimo ousted him from his court. Enraged, he conspired with some local assassins to kill Cosimo from a window in Palazzo Pucci as he walked by on his way to services in the Basilica. Unfortunately for Pandolfo, Cosimo discovered the plot and had him and his co-conspirators hung from Bargallo Prison. To “cement” his supremacy in Florence, he ordered the window be sealed off and it remains that way today.
Arrogance or Well-Earned Pride?
Traditionally, the symbols decorating the palazzi (palaces) of Florence showcased typical items like a family coat of arms or the symbol of the city. However, if you pass Palazzo Fenzi and you will find something very different above the entrance. On the left, you will find a very nice representation of the Duomo in Florence. In the center is a large locomotive. Finally, on the right is a smaller lighthouse, guarding a harbor. In 1848, Emanuele Fenzi a banker, along with Pierre Senn, a Swiss-born contractor from Livorno, completed work on the very first Tuscan railway connecting Florence to Livorno.
While some might consider this symbol a bit of self-promotion, other consider it boastful. Too much Tuscan pride or a little well-deserved bragging? You decide.
Florence’s secrets are ready to be discovered. What are you waiting for?
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