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Mercato del Porcellino | Florence, Italy

Atualizado: 27 de jan.

Fontana del Porcellino, Renaissance bronze fountain of a wild boar
The famous Fontana del Porcellino. The "piggy" is actually a boar.

In the heart of Florence, a location known by three evocative names - Mercato del Porcellino, Mercato Nuovo, and Mercato della Paglia - stands out for its rich history and authenticity. It is an architectural gem erected under the order of Cosimo I de' Medici in 1547, initially intended to house the trade of valuable fabrics and jewelry. Today, this picturesque loggia is a paradise for visitors seeking Tuscan handmade products, from leather goods to embroidered scarves and various souvenirs.

Witness to Florentine history, the structure is the work of Giovan Battista Del Tasso and represents more than just a bustling market. Under the loggia, 19th-century sculptures depicting illustrious figures such as Michele di Lando, protagonist of the famous Tumult of the Ciompi in 1378; Giovanni Villani, renowned Florentine historian of the 14th century; and Bernardo Cennini, pioneer of Florentine typography, add layers of cultural and historical meaning to the market.

Two emblematic points define the Mercato del Porcellino: the Pietra dello Scandalo (Stone of Scandal) and the Fontana del Porcellino (Fountain of the Piggy). The first is a marble circle dating back to the Renaissance, where Florentine troops gathered before battles and where debtors and insolvent merchants faced humiliating public punishments (such as being whipped on the buttocks).

The second derives from a Roman copy of a Hellenistic marble - now in the Galleria degli Uffizi - reproduced in bronze by Pietro Tacca in 1612 to decorate the Palazzo Pitti. Some years after casting, the work was transformed into a fountain, documented under the loggia of the Mercato Nuovo since at least 1640. Despite being incorrectly named (the "piggy" is actually a wild boar), it is surrounded by a peculiar tradition. Touching the Porcellino's nose guarantees good luck, but the complete ritual requires placing a coin in the statue's mouth. Luck will be sealed if the coin passes through the fountain's grate upon falling, thus bringing prosperity and fortune.

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