The Palazzo Vecchio (Italian pronunciation: [paˈlattso ˈvɛkkjo] “Old Palace”) is the town hall of Florence, Italy. This massive,Romanesque, crenellated fortress-palace is among the most impressive town halls of Tuscany. Overlooking the Piazza della Signoria with its copy of Michelangelo’s David statue as well as the gallery of statues in the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi, it is one of the most significant public places in Italy.
n 1299, the commune and people of Florence decided to build a palace, worthy of the city’s importance and giving greater security, in times of turbulence, to the magistrates. Arnolfo di Cambio, the architect of the Duomo and the Santa Crocechurch, began constructing it upon the ruins of Palazzo dei Fanti and Palazzo dell’Esecutore di Giustizia, once owned by the Uberti family. Giovanni Villani (1276–1348) wrote in his Nuova Cronica that the Uberti were “rebels of Florence andGhibellines“, stating that the plaza was built so that the Uberti family homes would never be rebuilt on the same location.Giovanni Villani wrote that Arnolfo di Cambio incorporated the ancient tower of the Foraboschi family (the tower then known as “La Vacca” or “The Cow”) as the substructure of the tower into its facade; this is why the rectangular tower (height 94 m) is not directly centered in the building. This tower contains two small cells, that, at different times, imprisoned Cosimo de’ Medici (the Elder) (1435) and Girolamo Savonarola (1498). The tower is named after its designer Torre d’Arnolfo. The solid cubicle shaped building is enhanced by the simple tower with its clock. The large, one-handed clock was originally constructed in 1353 by the Florentine Nicolò Bernardo, but was replaced in 1667 by a replica made by Georg Lederle from the German town of Augsburg (Italians call him Gio