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piazza santa maria novella

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

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
, available under Creative Commons

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