The Loggia del Mercato Nuovo, better known as the Loggia del Porcellino, was built between 1547 and 1551 based on a design by Giovan Battista Tasso. Originally, it was a loggia intended for the sale of silks and precious objects, but in the mid-nineteenth century the famous straw hats of Florence were sold there.
The main attraction of the Loggia is the Fontana del Porcellino (fountain of the piglet), even though the animal sculpted is a boar. According to popular tradition, touching the pig's nose brings good luck, as does putting a coin in its mouth: if it falls beyond the water grate it is a good omen.
Another interesting fact about the of the loggia is hidden in its centre and can only be seen when there are no sales stalls there: the pietra dello scandalo (stone of shame), known in ancient times as the "acculata" stone. The stone reproduces one of the wheels of the Carroccio (medieval), the symbol of the Florentine Republic, on which the Gonfalon banner of the city was hoisted and around which the Florentine troops gathered before each battle. During the Renaissance, the stone was used to punish insolvent debtors. The punishment entailed putting chains on the debtors, lowering their breeches and making them beat their buttocks numerous times on the stone. This punishment or custom led to the popular and colourful expressions such as "essere con il culo a terra" (to have one's arse on the ground), meaning a moment of great difficulty, and "sculo", meaning bad luck.