Loggia del Bigallo
It is one of a dozen public loggias in the city, in this case part of a construction that housed the Compagnia della Misericordia, who commissioned the structure, probably from the architect-sculptor Alberto Arnoldi; it was built in 1352–58. The open loggia served to shelter lost children and unwanted infants who were abandoned to the care of the brotherhood, the "Company of Mercy". In 1425 the Compagnia di Santa Maria del Bigallo, founded in 1244 by Saint Peter Martyr and formerly housed near Orsanmichele, transferred here as well. The Compagnia del Bigallo cared for pilgrims and travellers at their Ospedale di Santa Maria "del Bigallo" at Fonteviva.
It stands at the corner of piazza San Giovanni and via Calzaioli; a tradition records that the site in which to erect it was donated by a benefactor.
Its two arched bays are richly applied with bas-reliefs of prophets, angels, the Virtues, a Christ giving the benediction and an Ecce Homo. In 1697, the arches were immured in order to provide more space for the oratory that is attached to the loggia; the masonry was removed in 1889, revealing the long-hidden decoration. Mullioned windows pierce the walls of the floor above, which was originally richly frescoed. and three tabernacles, the work of Filippo di Cristofano, 1412, enframe the Madonna and Child, Saint Lucy and Saint Peter Martyr, patron of the brotherhood. The mid-14th century statues were installed here when the two confraternities joined in 1425.
The interior contains a museum of objects related to the Compagnia del Bigallo.
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- Also responsible for some of the reliefs on the campanile next to the Duomo of Florence
- Detached fresco fragments are conserved ijn the museum.
- Touring Club Italiano, (1964) Firenze e dintorni, 109f.