Attached to the corner of Palazzo Vecchietti, which lies a stone's throw from Piazza della Repubblica, is a small bronze figure. Known as the Diavolino (little devil), it is a copy of a work by Giambologna (1529-1608).
The sculptor originally made two such figurines for Bernardo Vecchietti, a rich patron, who actually housed Giambologna in his palace for several years. The two little devils (one of which has been lost) were placed at the corners of the Palazzo Vecchietti.
The Diavolino and its twin apparently served as a holder for a flagstaff or a torch. If we imagine the torch or flagstaff in place, the Diavolino falls naturally into a category of so-called ithyphallic statues.
Rather than being some kind of pornographic joke on the part of sculptor or patron, the Diavolino may have had an apotropaic function, helping to avert the evil eye from the palace and its occupants.