|ceiling in the former Guelph Party headquarters|
I passed by an open door and spied heraldic splendor on the ceiling, and my inner geek let out a slightly audible squeal. On the door reads Biblioteca Palagio di Parte Guelfa." People were reading intently and looking serious. I ventured inside and studied the ceiling trying to read the various symbols, my brain whirring away trying to access what Florentine history I can recall, my hand hovering over my camera bag like a gunslinger waiting for just the right moment to draw.
|detail of Guelph party ceiling|
Heraldry isn't just for noble families: I recognized the banners of the Arti
, Florentine guilds who were active in commerce, as well as politics. The shields of two major guilds, the Arte di Calimala
and the Arte dei Linaioli e Rigattieri
, both textile guilds, take pride of place in the center along with the Florentine city shield, and that of the Guelph party. The Guelphs, whose shield is white with a red cross, had a complicated and often bloody religious and political rivalry with the Ghibellines, whose shield was red with a white cross. Theirs was an epic medieval conflict
which persisted in various mutations well into the 15th century.
|detail showing the insignia of the Guilds of Florence|
Encircling the shields in the center is a marvelous graphic border with the insignia of each of the Florentine guilds: stonemasons, speziale
, blacksmiths, innkeepers, tanners, locksmiths, etc. Surrounding all this is a field of deep blue patterned with the French fleur de lis
, possibly a reference to one of the (brief) periods of good relations between Florence and the French Crown.
Painted entirely by hand, each feature varies just a bit which really adds to the patina and feeling of history. It almost looks like the banners are fluttering proudly overhead.
It's just great ornament and you all know how I feel about that.
photos by Lynne Rutter, Florence, March, 2014
click on images to view larger
I am geeking right there with you!ReplyDelete
just wait Theresa! I found another one today!Delete
An incredible ceiling, and, I might add, great ideas to store away in the memory banks. I really like those curious stepped banners — I've never seen flags shaped like that!ReplyDelete