Restoration of Florence’s Piazza Santa Maria Novella continues

30th August, 2016
The Piazza Santa Maria Novella in Florence is one of the city’s many beautiful squares, with the Church of Santa Maria Novella being the square’s centrepiece. Among the other treasures to be discovered in the square are the former medieval Loggio di San Paolo hospital, which is today the Novecento Museum, a contemporary art gallery, as well as two striking marble obelisks.

Currently, the Piazza is undergoing a gradual but important restoration, with the obelisks being the latest element attention has been turned to. The obelisks were last restored nine years ago, and since then, they have suffered from erosion, cracking and discolouration as they have been continuously exposed to the elements. Restoration work was completed on the obelisks last week at a cost of 95,000 euros, and included cleaning, grouting work and installing a new anti-intrusion system.

These distinctive obelisks date back to the 16th century, and were put in place for a popular carriage race which took place in the square called the Palio dei Cocchi, which was introduced by Cosimo de’Medici in 1563. Wooden pyramids initially marked the boundaries of the race zone in the event’s first few years, but then Bartolomeo Ammannati began work on the obelisks in 1570 which would act as a solid replacement. Today they are not only excellent visuals but also a reflection of the importance of the Palio in Florentine history.


The work on the obelisks began in December, and was funded by the Florence I Care (FLIC Project), who help to preserve works of artistic, social or scholarly significance. Other work in the Piazza has also been recently completed, including the establishment of new barriers around the flower beds. Almost 16 million euros have been invested in the restoration of the Piazza so far, with work in the square in recent years including pedestrianisation work to revitalising the Novecento Museum.


Located near several of our luxury Tuscany villas, the Piazza Santa Maria Novella is just one of the several beautiful squares you will find in Florence alongside the grand churches, charming backstreets and relaxed pace of life.

Image: Rodrigo Soldon, available under Creative Commons