Piazza della Repubblica (Republic Square) is a large and impressive city square that was once used as the Roman Forum (the central public area of the city that served as a cultural, religious, and commercial meeting place) of Florence. In the Middle Ages, the Jewish ghetto of Florence was located in the Piazza, where two synagogues operated. The obligation to live in the ghetto was abolished only in the 18th century, and in the 19th century, it was finally abolished following Italy’s unification and the Italian constitution’s creation.
During the first centuries AD, a thicket of dense neighborhoods was built on the ruins of the Roman Forum, which were destroyed following the restoration of the Piazza.
The most prominent hallmarks of the Piazza are the Pillar of Plenty, which symbolizes the center of the city, and the large triumphal arch with an inscription indicating the restoration of the square in 1895. Piazza della Repubblica was restored and was used as a place to live for the city’s poor. The restoration included the expansion and demolition of historical buildings, residences, and alleys built back in the Middle Ages.
The Column of Plenty in Piazza della Repubblica is a replica of the original Column of Plenty, which marked the heart of the Roman Forum when it was active. In 1431, the original column was replaced by a column topped by the statue of abundance created by the famous artist Donatello. After 300 years, Donatello’s statue was replaced by a statue made by the artist Fujini, and 200 years later, Fujini’s figure moved to the museum and was replaced by the copy in the Piazza today.
Today, Piazza della Repubblica continues to serve as a bustling urban center featuring restaurants, cafes, shops, stalls, and live performances by street performers. It is recommended to visit Piazza della Repubblica before sunset, enjoy the shows and the lively atmosphere and end the visit with a fine Italian coffee or a good meal at one of the nearby restaurants.