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Jun 6, 2012


A different way to know more about Florence and its famous men could be taking a walk in the Uffizi courtyard.

Between 1842 and 1856 the niches in the piers of the courtyard were filled with 28 sculptures of important historical figures from the Middle Age to 19th century. Starting from Palazzo Vecchio side: 

1. (on the wall, behind Orcagna) Cosimo de’ Medici (named Cosimo The Elder, 1389-1464) was the first of the Medici political dynasty, rulers of Florence during much of the Italian Renaissance. 

2. (on the wall, behind Nicola Pisano) Lorenzo de' Medici (named Lorenzo the Magnificent, 1449-1492), nephew of Cosimo The Elder, was the ruler of the Florentine Republic during the Italian Renaissance. He is most known for his contribution to the art world, giving large amounts of money to artists so they could create master works of art. His life coincided with the high point of the early Italian Renaissance; his death marked the end of the Golden Age of Florence. The fragile peace he helped maintain between the various Italian states collapsed with his death. 

3. Orcagna (real name Andrea di Cione, 1308-1368), an Italian painter, sculptor, and architect active in Florence. He made the "Altarpiece of the Redeemer" in the Strozzi Chapel in Santa Maria Novella church and the tabernacle in Orsanmichele. 

4. Nicola Pisano (c. 1220/1225 – c. 1284) was an Italian sculptor, founder of modern sculpture. 

5. Giotto (1266/7 - 1337), was an Italian painter and architect from Florence in the late Middle Ages. He is generally considered the first of great artists who contributed to the Italian Renaissance. Everywhere in Florence, there are his masterpieces: starting from the Campanile del Duomo (the bell tower of the main cathedral) designed by Giotto, to the frescoes in Santa Croce Chapels and the beautiful, enormous suspended Crucifix in Santa Maria Novella. His most know masterwork is the decoration of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, and the frescoes in Assisi. 

6. Donatello (c. 1386 - 1466), was the most important sculptor during the early Renaissance. 

7. Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472) was an Italian architect and Renaissance humanist. He wrote famous treatises about painting, architecture and scientific studies about perspective. 

8. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) considered a genius and one of the greatest painters of all time, was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. Leonardo was the archetype of the Renaissance Man. 

9. Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer. Michelangelo was considered the greatest living artist in his lifetime, and is one of the greatest artists of all time. His tomb is in Santa Croce church. 

10. Dante Alighieri (c1265–1321) was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem Commedia, later named “Divina commedia” (Divine Comedy), considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature. His Cenotaph is in Santa Croce (but his tomb is in Ravenna). 

11. Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374), was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism". 

12. Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) was an Italian author and poet, a friend, student, and correspondent of Petrarch. He was the author of a number of notable works including the famous Decameron. 

13. Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) was an Italian historian, philosopher, humanist, writer and founder of modern political science. He wrote the masterpiece “The Prince”. His tomb is in Santa Croce church. 

14. Francesco Guicciardini (1483-1540) was an Italian historian and statesman. A friend and critic of Niccolò Machiavelli, he is considered one of the major political writers of the Italian Renaissance. He wrote the masterpiece “The History of Italy”. 

15. Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512) was an Italian explorer, navigator and cartographer. The Americas are generally believed to have derived their name from his first name. 

16. (pier of the river side) Francesco Ferrucci (1489-1530) was a captain from Florence who fought in the Italian Wars. His positive fame was largely supported by Italian writers and poets in search of national myths in the course of the Unification of Italy (19th century). 

17. (pier of the river side) Giovanni dalle Bande Nere (real name Lodovico de’ Medici, 1498-1526) was the last of the great Italian “condottieri” (mercenary military captain). 

18. (pier of the river side) Piero Capponi (1447-1496) was an Italian statesman and warrior from Florence. 

19. (pier of the river side) Farinata degli Uberti (1212-1264), was an Italian aristocrat and military leader. He was the leader of the Ghibelline (anti-Papal) faction in Florence during the power struggles of the time and appears in Dante Alighieri's “Inferno” ( First book of the Divine Comedy). 

20. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations. Galileo is the Father of Modern Science. His tomb is in Santa Croce church. 

21. Pier Antonio Micheli (1679-1737) was a noted Italian botanist, curator of the Orto Botanico in Florence. 

22. Francesco Redi (1626-1697) was an Italian physician, naturalist, and poet. 

23. Paolo Mascagni (1755-1815) was an Italian physician. 

24. Andrea Cesalpino (1524-1603) was an Italian physician, philosopher and botanist. 

25. Saint Antoninus of Florence (1389-1459) was an Archbishop of Florence. 

26. Accursius (c. 1182-1263) was an Italian jurist. 

27. Guido Aretinus (991/992-1050) was a music theorist of the Middle Age. 

28. Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) was an Italian goldsmith, sculptor, painter, soldier and musician, who also wrote a famous autobiography. He was one of the most important artists of Mannerism. You can see his sculpture "Perseo" in Piazza della Signoria, under the arches of the Loggia dei Lanzi.


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