Florentine Legends: The Reversed Balcony

Italy Travel Notes presents: By Simone Ficozzi

Italy Travel Notes – Florentine Legends: The Reversed BalconyFlorence is a city full of history, where it’s easy to be charmed by what surrounds you and do not notice some little corners, minor ones, that make you rediscover the city and the character of Florentine people.

One of these is in Borgo Ognissanti at number 12, where is located the reversed balcony. Admiring it is a pleasure especially if you think about the legend that surrounds it, not because it was object of peculiar tales but because it reflects very well the city and its inhabitants, reflection where I see myself too.

The reversed balcony that is located on the first floor, was built by assembling counter wise the classical elements of a regular balcony: the supporting corbels, its volutes and the balustrades where capitals are in place of the base.

Its building dates back to the 16th century, and it seems to have been built in such a curious way as per a request of the stable’s builder, due to some spites with the Duke Alessandro de’ Medici.

Looks like, that at the moment of the project proposal, this was rejected by the Duke, cause the balcony was too prominent. Then the builder presented the project a second time modifying a few things but leaving the balcony almost unchanged, of course the Duke Alessandro denied it again. At a third instance, trying to be salacious, the Duke wrote “yes on the contrary”.

The builder, applying the answer to the letter, ordered to his architect to build the balcony upside-down.

Perhaps the Duke Alessandro would have liked to punish the irreverent constructor, but as a Florentine…I think he appreciated and approved his presence of mind.

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