Since Via Tornabuoni was 'pedestrianised', the base of the Colonna della Giustizia (Column of Justice) has become a popular place for people to sit and watch the world go by.
The column, which stands in Piazza Santa Trinita, was presented to Duke Cosimo I de' Medici (b. 1519/ r. 1537-74) by Pope Pius IV (r. 1559-65).
The 11-metre high monolithic granite column, which came from the ancient Roman Baths of Caracalla, arrived in Florence in 1563 and was placed on its pedestal in 1565.
The column marks the victory of Florence against Siena at the Battle of Marciano (August 2nd 1554). It was erected on the spot where the duke first heard news of the triumph.
In 1580 the statue of Justice was added to the top of the column. The statue, which is made from three blocks of porphyry, one of the hardest stones to work, took Francesco del Tadda (and his son Romolo) almost 11 years to complete.
On May 15th, 1865, to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the birth of Florence's most famous son, a statue of Durante degli Alighieri (1265-1321) was unveiled to the public.
The sculptor was Enrico Pazzi (1818-99), who hailed from Ravenna (where Dante is buried), and for little over a century the statue of Italy's greatest poet graced the centre of Piazza Santa Croce.
However, in 1968 the powers-that-be decided that the piazza should once again host the annual calcio storico (historical football) and so the statue was relegated to its present position.
Crowned with a coronet of laurel leaves, Dante holds the Divina Commedia in his right hand. An eagle (symbol of divine justice), its wings half unfurled, perches at his feet.
At the base of the pedestal stand four shield-bearing Marzocchi (the Marzocco is the heraldic lion of Florence). On each of the shields is written the title of one of the poet's works.
Blogging about Florence, its art, history and culture.