It has been over a century that the ristorante la Loggia overlooks the city of Florence from the top of the piazzale Michelangelo. We arrive at the square after the pleasant climb of the Viale dei Colli, a road surrounded by trees, that slowly shows the promise of the view that we will enjoy. Finally, we get to the Piazzale, in the middle of which a natural copy of the statue of David reminds the visitors of his sculptor: Michelangelo, the Florentine pride that gives the square its name.
Discover the story of Giuseppe Poggi
The current structure of the Piazzale is due to the work of the architect Giuseppe Poggi; till this day you can read the recently restored sign, placed by the City in 1911 just under the Loggia: “GIUSEPPE POGGI, FLORENTINE ARCHITECT. Turn around, here is his monument “. The plaque seems to present the entire skyline of Florence as if it were the work of Poggi. In fact, it was undoubtedly the architect’s genius to realize the symmetries of the Piazzale Michelangelo in order to give the eye a majestic show.
Florence capital of Italy
Poggi’s work began on 22 November 1864: it was decided that, while waiting for Rome, Florence will be the capital of Italy, and the city must prepare itself to welcome the King and his court. Among the many works that will change the face of the city, Poggi is commissioned to give Florence a panoramic viewpoint worthy of His Majesty: this is how the square and, above all, the Loggia are born.
The Michelangelo’s arcade
The work of Poggi, in fact, should not be limited to a magnificent terrace: the idea was to create a real museum of Michelangelo. For this purpose, the architect designs and realizes the Loggia, designed to house the “Prigioni” statues and the casts of other statues outside Florence (such as the Pietà and the Moses). The building was constructed in a neoclassical style and placed to dominate the entire square: it was in fact necessary to give it an imposing structure and a prominent position, to avoid being absorbed in the immensity of the surrounding space.
Visit the Loggia today
As history teaches us, Florence will remain the capital of Italy for only five years and with the displacement of the court in Rome, the dream of the museum also collapses: it is 1867 when the Loggia, as Poggi wrote “received the simple restaurant destination as seen at present “.
Of course, it is not difficult to understand the architect’s frustration, but what he could not know is how much the ristorante La Loggia would have been central to the political and cultural life of his city.