The Loggia dei Lanzi is located in Piazza della Signoria; it was built between 1376 and 1383 to accommodate the people’s assemblies and public ceremonies, such as the settlement of the Gonfalonieri and the Priori. Indeed its first names were Loggia della Signoria, Loggia dei Priori or “dell’Orcagna”, from the name of the artist who is thought to have designed it (the execution is due to Benci di Cione and Simone Talenti). During the rule of Cosimo I, it was then destined to host the duke’s mercenary troops, made up of the Lanzichenecchi from which the name. Although it is a gothic building, the presence of round arches represents a true anticipation of the Renaissance style. The four panels with allegorical figures of the cardinal virtues performed by Agnolo Gaddi (1383-1386) stand out in the façade.
From the XVI century, and in the following centuries, this space was destined to accommodate the Bronze Perseus (by Benvenuto Cellini) and Marble sculptures, dating back to the classical age, the Mannerist period and the XIX century, thus becoming one of the first exhibition spaces in the world.
The loggia is made entirely in Pietraforte Sandstone, the balustrade of the terrace is in Pietra Serena Sandstone, the allegorical figures on the façade are in Apuan Marble. The sculptures under the arches are in Apuan Marble, except for the Perseus statue made of Bronze. The lions at the sides of the steps are in Apuan Marble with a Travertine base.