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Eastern Florence-Piazza della Repubblica and Chiesa di Orsanmichele

Piazza della Repubblica (Picture 1) was created in the 19th century as part of a plan to erase the ancient market, the Jewish ghetto and extremely poor houses from Florence and to move about 6,000 inhabitants to another part of town. In former times there had been a Roman forum on the site and later on it became Florence’s centre in the Middle Ages.
The fish market by Vasari survived this project and was rebuilt on Via Pietrapiana.
At present historic cafés abound in the piazza. Florentines flock here to meet friends and relatives, relax after a shopping spree or before or after work.

Chiesa di Orsanmichele (Via dell’Arte della Lana, open 10am-5pm, closed Mon) (Picture 2) was erected on the site of a grain market in the 1300s. The guilds of artisans were requested to to provide the money to embellish the church. Each patron saint of each guild was placed on the outer walls. Some of these original statues made by Renaissance artists of the 15th and 16th century are exhibited in the museum in the church, only their reproductions are on the outer walls. Other statues are kept in other museums in Florence such as Saint John the Evangelist by Lamberti which is in the Ospedale degli Innocenti, or Saint Luke, by the same master, in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello together with Saint George by Donatello. A highlight in the interior of this church is the Gothic tabernacle created by Andrea Orcagna (Picture 3).