Florence art guide

The Loggia of the Bigallo

The Loggia of the Bigallo


The Loggia "of the Bigallo", standing on the corner between Piazza San Giovanni and Via Calzaiuoli, forms part of a mediaeval building that was originally the headquarters of the Archconfraternity of the Misericordia; it was built between 1352-58 by Alberto Arnoldi, sculptor and architect who also worked on the building site of the Duomo and carried out several of the bas-reliefs on the Belltower. This loggia was originally used to show abandoned children to the public, one of the Company of the Bigallo's principle tasks of charity. Its well-documented name derives from the Compagnia Maggiore of Santa Maria del Bigallo which ran the Hospice for pilgrims and travellers of Santa Maria a Fonteviva, known as the Bigallo.
According to another tradition, the present loggia and oratory were built thanks to a donation given to the Company by a private benefactor who owned a house on the corner of Corso Adimari (today Via Calzaiuoli). The two wide arches are decorated with bas-reliefs of Prophets, Angels, the Virtues and Christ in benediction.
They were bricked up in 1697 to enlarge the oratory and not restored to their original aspect until 1889. The first floor boasts three-foil windows while three tabernacles by Filippo di Cristofano (1412) with statues of the Madonna and Child, St. Lucy and St. Peter the Martyr, founder of the Archconfraternity of the Misericordia, decorate the facade.
The painted statues by Ambrogio di Baldese (1350 circa), were brought here when the two Companies were unified in 1425 (this only lasted until 1490). Today some of the rooms of the palace and oratory are used for a Museum containing works of art from the collection of the Company of the Bigallo, which were lost for a time, until they were put together again in 1904.

| Home | Index | Mall | Maps |

©2007 Mega Review srl