The Loggia del Grano has recently been restored and the wonderful bust of the mustachioed Grand Duke Cosimo II de' Medici (1590-21) can now be seen again.
The Loggia del Grano, which functioned as a market for grain and cereals, was commissioned by Cosimo II and built in 1619. The loggia was designed by Giulio Parigi, while the bust was carved by Chiarissimo Fancelli.
The bust sits in the middle of a splendid stemma (coat of arms). The Latin inscription proclaims Cosimo II as EGENORUM PATRI (Father of those in need).
Cosimo II (r. 1609-21), who was only nineteen years old when he succeeded to power, did not enjoy the best of health and for much of his eleven-year reign, he delegated the administration of Tuscany to his ministers.
However, the grand duke's poor health did not stop him from fathering eight children during his marriage to Maria Maddalena of Austria (1589-1631). Cosimo II was only thirty years old when he died of tuberculosis in 1621.
Cosimo II was both the pupil and patron of the great scientist Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). In 1610 Galileo published his Siderius Nuncio (The Starry Messenger), which he dedicated to his esrtwhile pupil. And he named the four moons, which he had observed in orbit around the planet Jupiter, the Sidera Medicea (Medicean stars) in honour of the grand duke and his three brothers.