The Loggia della Signoria, known as Loggia dei Lanzi, is located in Piazza della Signoria and was built in 1380 to host ceremonies and public assemblies of the Florentine Republic. It was built by Simone Talenti and, in the upper part of the facade, it has four medallions that stand out between the large arches and represent the cardinal virtues.
It is said that the name Loggia dei Lanzi dates back to the year 1527, during which Charles V's Landsknechte, who were bound for Rome, encamped there.
The loggia is certainly a Gothic-style building, but the three large rounded arches bear witness to the birth of the Renaissance. It is thought that Brunelleschi probably drew inspiration from the Loggia to build the Spedale degli Innocenti. Since the 16th century, the loggia has been an open-air museum that contains important statues like the Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini, which has his own self-portrait on the back of the face, the Rape of the Sabine Women and the Hercules with the centaur Nessus by Giambologna.
Florence did not follow the Gregorian calendar until 1749, continuing to celebrate the Florentine New Year on 25 March, the day of the Annunciation. From 1 January 1750, at the behest of Stephen, Grand Duke of Lorraine, Florence adapted itself to the rest of Europe; there is a Latin plaque under the Loggia dei Lanzi to commemorate the event.