Considered the heart of Florence, Piazza della Repubblica (Republic Square) is one of the largest squares of the Tuscan capital.
It has a rectangular shape, sized 75 x 100 m. If you are planning to visit Florence you’ll already know the history of its most important sites, but maybe you don’t know the secret facts of Piazza della Repubblica: during the Middle Ages this place was a crowded market of stalls, and after the sixteenth century, the area was known as the Old Market.
In 1571, on the north side of the square, there was the Jewish Ghetto of Florence, made up of a small area surrounded by a wall. This ghetto disappeared in 1848, when Jewish restrictions were abolished.
In 1865 the capital of Italy was transferred to Florence, and the urban development project guided by architect Poggi began. This was a period called “rejuvenation“, and it was all about the improvement and the decoration of many sights, streets and squares of the city center.
One of the biggest problems to be faced was the unhealthiness that the old town was facing next to the Old Market. This is why a new central market was built, and it was opened in 1874.
In 1870 the capital of Italy was changed again, no longer Florence but Rome, paralyzing the project. More than ten years later, work was started to create a large rectangular square with arcades and a triumphal arch.
In 1890, on the square the central statue of Vittorio Emanuele II was inaugurated, then the square itself received a new name: “Piazza Vittorio Emanuele I“. The surrounding buildings were built in 1895. As a result, the city’s historic center was transformed into a sophisticated outdoor space surrounded by elegant establishments.
Important changes took place in Piazza della Repubblica during the period known as “interurban war“. For example, to extend the space of the area and celebrate the acts of the Fascist regime, the statue of the king was removed and transferred to the entrance of the Cascine Park. In 1938, the square was filled with Nazi flags to honor Adolf Hitler on his trip to Florence.
In 1947, the year after the Italian Republic was proclaimed, the square was given the name it currently carries: Piazza della Repubblica, although it’s still common to hear Florentines call it with its former name “Piazza Vittorio”. Almost ten years later, the old Colonna dell’Abbondanza was taken from the old Market Square and installed here again.
Magnificent and rich in history, Piazza della Repubblica is definitely one of the squares not to be missed during your trip to Florence.