It appears that the area of the square was populated since the Neolithic, and it constituted an important fulcrum of the city of Florentia during the Roman times.
In the 4th century, a large Christian basilica was built here, which remained in use until the 7th century. In the 8th century, the basilica was replaced with a church dedicated to Santa Cecilia.
The square began to take its present shape around the year 1268, when the houses of the Ghibellines that resided in the area were demolished by the Guelphs who won the Battle of Benevento.
Only in 1385, the square was paved for the first time. During the same 14th century, Palazzo Vecchio and Loggia della Signoria were built, and the square became the center of the political life of the city.
The interventions in the following centuries mainly concerned the sculptural decoration of the square, and culminated during the Grand Ducal period with the transformation of Loggia della Signoria into an open-air museum.
The construction of the Uffizi Gallery in the mid-16th century also created a new perspective towards the Arno River.
The most important building in the square is the 14th-century Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace), built between 1299 and 1314 in Romanesque style by the architect Arnolfo di Cambio.
Loggia della Signoria, also known as Loggia dei Lanzi, was built between 1376 and 1381 by Benci di Cione Dami and Simone di Francesco Talenti, as a balcony to address the crowd during official ceremonies.
The Court of Merchandise (Tribunale della Mercanzia) was built in 1359, to settle civil and commercial disputes.
Palazzo Uguccioni was erected in Renaissance style for Giovanni Uguccioni starting with 1550.
Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali was built in Renaissance style starting with 1871, on a project by the architect Landi.
The square is populated by many beautiful sculptures, such as the Marzocco (a heraldic lion, symbol of Florence) and Giuditta and Oloferne, both by Donatello, the famous David of Michelangelo, Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini in the Loggia dei Lanzi, and Hercules and Cacus by Baccio Bandinelli.
The Fountain of Neptune was built between 1563 and 1565 by Bartolomeo Ammannati and some of his pupils, including Giambologna.
Also in the square, we can find the grandiose equestrian statue of Cosimo I, a bronze work by Giambologna from 1594.
HOW TO GET THERE
Piazza della Signoria is located about 1.2 kilometers away from the Santa Maria Novella railway station. The closest bus stop is Galleria Degli Uffizi, located about 120 meters away in Piazza del Grano, on the bus Line C1.