Piazza Santissima Annunziata Florence

The Piazza della Santissima Annunziata in Florence is framed by several beautiful buildings. Most striking are Brunelleschi‘s Spedale degli Innocenti, the National Archaeological Museum and the Santissima Annunziata Basilica.

Piazza Santissima Annunziata Florence

History and description

Piazza Santissima Annunziata Florence
Piazza Santissima Annunziata

It is in Piazza della Santissima Annunziata that until 1750 the Marian New Year was celebrated every year on 25 March. The tradition was maintained despite the fact that the Gregorian calendar had already been introduced in 1528. On this day there was always a market, where pilgrims bought candles and ex voto statues for Mary as well as all kinds of food.

On the 7th of September the Festa della Rificolona is celebrated here, in honour of the birthday of Mary.

The Maria in question was a fresco painted in the 13th century in the Santissima Annunziata Basilica, which was so beautiful that it must have been painted by angels.

What to see

Palazzo Gattai

Tradition has it that a window of the Palazzo Gattai is visited by the ghost of a newlywed girl, who has been waiting here for her husband to go to war until old age. This orange mansion was originally called Palazzo Grifoni. It was built in the 16th century by order of the secretary of Cosimo I, Jacopo Grifoni. The last window on the right is where the girl’s ghost lives. After the departure of her husband, she spent the rest of her life here embroidering. After her death, people tried to close the window, which brought about a real revolution in the room, with flying books, wobbling furniture and paintings falling off the wall. From that moment on, the window is always kept ajar.


The two baroque twin fountains on the square depict mythological sea creatures. The designer of these fountains was Pietro Tacca. They were actually intended as a gift to the city of Livorno. However, they turned out quite beautiful and in the end the Florentines decided to keep them for themselves.

Statue of Ferdinando I

Piazza Santissima Annunziata Florence - Ferdinando I

The equestrian statue in the middle of the square is by Giambologna. It depicts Ferdinand I of Lorraine and its motto is Majestate Tantum. The queen bee depicts the Grand Duke, surrounded by the common people in the form of 91 worker bees.

Volta degli Innocenti

Volta degli Innocenti
Volta degli innocenti

The Volta degli Innocenti is the archway that leads into the Via Colonna. It was created in order to connect the two buildings that used to make up the Ospedale degli Innocenti. One of these buildings is now the seat of the National Archaeological Museum of Florence.

Piazza Santissima Annunziata Florence

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