Palazzo Vecchio Florence Italy about 1892

THE PALAZZO VECCHIO, FLORENCE — One of the first objects which the traveler beholds as he approaches Florence, and certainly one of the first to which he pays a visit, is this massive structure called the Palazzo Vecchio, or Old Palace. This was built in the year 1298, and served as the Senate House of Florence during the Republic, and later still as the official residence of the Medici, that famous family which gave eight Dukes to Tuscany, two Queens to France, and four Popes to the Vatican. What an amount of history is centered in that gloomy edifice, and cruel history at that! That same imposing tower, 330 feet in height, and these same palace walls were in 1498 reddened by the glare of Savonarola’s burning form, and echoed to the curses of that fickle multitude which had so often hung upon his words, yet then thronged every window, roof and balcony to witness his death agony. Yet when the reaction came, this building also saw for centuries, upon the anniversary of that dreadful day, the pavement of this Square covered with violets, in memory of the good which Savonarola had achieved, and repentance for his cruel death. The tower of this Palazzo Vecchio commands a magnificent view, and one may see within it the prison of Savonarola. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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