The Colonna di San Zanobi (Column of Saint Zenobius) rarely gets a mention in most guide books, in spite of its very prominent position in the heart of the city, next to the Baptistery.
Saint Zenobius, who is venerated as the first bishop of Florence, is one of the city’s patron saints. The column was erected in 1384 to commemorate a miracle, which had taken place, almost one thousand years earlier, in 429, when the remains of the saint were being transferred from the church of San Lorenzo to Santa Reparata (which stood on the site of the present Cathedral). The event took place in the dead of winter and, as the body of the Saint Zenobious was being carried past an elm, the tree miraculously burst into leaf.
There is a metal branch of an elm tree attached to the column in memory of the miracle.