A devil in the center of Florence? A fiorentinaccio Doc would say, “one !? Are there many more” referring to all the people who do bad action the day. The devil we refer to, however, is clearly visible in bronze frown, mocking in his eyes, immoral in the pose. It is located in Via Vecchietti corner with Via degli Strozzi exactly on the corner of Palazzo Vecchietti, a few meters below the crest of the family, reaching out you can touch it.
In 1578 in front of the Palace old men there was a small square and a church, San Donato of Vecchietti, demolished at the time of the restoration of the Old Market, about 1888. And ‘necessary to mention this now disappeared square because it is linked to the attainment of that little devil . First things first.
In 1578, in fact, Bernardo Vecchietti decided to restructure his palace and to do so he called Giambologna. On this occasion Giambologna was hosted by their Vecchietti and evidently was born a good relationship so that the same Bernard introduced the Giambologna at the Medici court actually opening a window to a highly important patron. His rise was slow because of the artistic competition of the moment. Giambologna was always grateful to Vecchietti for this opportunity and wanted to pay it off by creating two bronzes bearer to be displayed on the corners of Palazzo Vecchietti. One of the two is then lost. The bronze statue that you see now in the public highway is obviously a copy, the original after exposure to the Terrace of Saturn in Palazzo Vecchio is now in the Museo Bardini.
The inspiration for the creation of these bronzes came from an episode from the life of St. Peter Martyr. It is said that in 1245 the square described above, the Dominican Peter Rosini (later Saint and Martyr) was giving a sermon to the Florentines on the crusades. The devil wanted to scare the people and in the form of a black runaway horse dashed into the crowd. He arrived in front of the Dominican these penned in the air the sign of the cross. The horse stopped, snorted and stepped back, then head to Via Vecchietti where it disappeared in a cloud of sulfur. The episode is also represented by Rossello di Jacopo Franchi on the outside wall of the loggia of the Bigallo.
Giambologna with this small bronze would protect the palace by Bernardo Vecchietti with a work that recalls the expulsion of the devil.