I have passed the little devil in Via degli Strozzi many times without really taking much notice.
Once I discovered more after reading about it in Secret Florence, I became much more interested.
The insolent little devil keeping watch over the corner is a bronze by Giambologna (1529 — 1608 ). It was commissioned by Bernado Vecchetti to commemorate a mysterious incident in Florence.
In 1425 a Dominican friar was preaching against heresy in Piazza del Mercato ( now Piazza della Repubblica ) when a startled black horse ran into the square.
The friar realised it was a ruse by the Devil to distract his listeners and raised his hand to make a sign of the cross over the satanic beast. The beast withdrew and disappeared around the corner of Palazzo Vecchietti, leaving nothing but a plume of smoke and a smell of sulphur.
Look up next time you pass…
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