Porta Romana

Florence's Best Preserved Gate

Porta Romana

The best surviving of Florence's medivals gates left in situ after Giuseppe Poggi's boulevard building, the Porta Romana was built in 1327 and was originally known as Porta San Pier Gattolino. Its location near the Boboli gardens offered residents of the nearby Pitti Palace a quick exit from the city if need be. Plaques honour grandees who passed under its arch: Pope Leo X and Emperor Charles V, and it still has its enormous iron-clad doors designed to keep undesirables out.

The roundabout by the gate sports a statue called Dietrofront ('Turnabout') (1981-1984) by Michelangelo Pistoletto (b. 1933); the vertical female figue points to the road to Rome. The other one, sprawling on the head of the first, and looks towards Via Romana and Florence.

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