Column of Justice, Florence

"Column of Justice (Colonna della Giustizia) is an ancient Roman Doric-order victory column, re-erected as a free-standing monument with a porphyry statue of Justice at the top. It stands in the Piazza Santa Trinita, in central Florence.

The column originated from the Baths of Caracalla in Rome and was given by Pope Pius IV to Cosimo I de Medici. The transportation of a 50-ton, 11 meter long granite column from Rome to Florence was an immense challenge.

It took months to move the column from the ruins of the Baths to the port on the Tiber, traveling about hundred meters per day. Part of the transportation was supervised by Giorgio Vasari, who had been sent by the Duke to Rome. It was then embarked at Ostia and taken by sea to the lower stretches of the Arno. A special barge appears to have been towed by a galley. This convoy was threatened along the route by Saracen raiders. Arriving in Tuscany, it had to be carried overland by oxen and horse-drawn carts to Florence. The move from the river bank a few miles upriver from Pisa to Florence took nearly a year, arriving in 1563…

The dedication of this column, erected by Cosimo I de'Medici, changed over time. Cosimo intended first to celebrate his 1537 victory over Siena in the Battle of Montemurlo (others cite the Battle of Marciano). This was apt because he had been here when he was informed of the victory of his troops over the rebellious Pietro Strozzi and his Sienese allies. In 1569, Pope Pius V had granted Cosimo the title of Grand Duke of Tuscany, and the dedication was made to justice with a present inscription."

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