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Top 5 Secrets and Legends of Florence

David and Goliath

Top 5 Secrets and Legends of Florence

The city of Florence in Italy has always been a hidden gem. Be it the fantastic Florentine cuisine or its undisputed charm, the memory of this city will forever be etched on your mind. And the secrets of Florence make the city an interesting place to explore. Perhaps, the fact that this city has the highest concentration of artistic masterpieces per square kilometre adds up to its charm. However, what most people do not know is that the city hides several secrets in its trunks. Legends and mysteries lurk around the dark corners of this city. Yes, it is a city where history and folklores are intertwined which have given rise to popular legends as well as mysteries.

Interested in knowing what they are? Have a look at five greatest secrets of Florence:

The self-portrait of behind Cellini Perseus:

The bronze sculpture of the Greek Hero Perseus with the head of the vicious gorgon Medusa is a major attraction for the tourists. This famous statue was sculptured by Benvenuto Cellini centuries ago. But this great piece of art is also shrouded in mystery.

The sculpture depicts Perseus standing upright over Medusa’s body with her head in his own hand. Sculpturing such a complex structure in that edge was not easy for Cellini and his assistants. The strain was too high and it caused an accident. The furnace somehow set the roof on fire. However, Cellini under the travail of extreme fever miraculously completed the work amidst the raging fire.

But he unknowingly hid a magical secret within his art. Yes, he created a beautiful optical illusion behind Perseus’s head. Behind the head of the statue, a face of a man can be seen; which according to many is the self-portrait of Cellini himself.

The Mystery of Rifrullo Del Diavolo:

Well, it is a strange phenomenon which has no explanation as yet. As you near the Florence Cathedral, you will find yourself in a strange vortex. You will feel cold breeze snuggling through your hair out of nowhere. During the colder months, the breeze turns into intense winds. However, the source of this vortex is still unknown.  And thus it definitely makes its way to the top secrets of Florence.

But old legends describe the phenomenon as Devil’s rifle or Rifrullo Del Diavolo. As per the legend, a long time ago the devil himself chased a priest down the roads of Florence to capture his soul. After much ado, the priest surrendered to the devil as they neared the Florence cathedral. The priest asked the devil to let him pray for one last time before losing his soul. Satan agreed and he waited patiently outside the church as the priest got inside to pray.

The devil leaned against the wall of the cathedral and dozed off as he waited for the priest to come out. It was just the moment the priest was looking for and he escaped without alarming the devil. Meanwhile, the devil started to snore as he slumbered while waiting for his prey creating a slight breeze. Upon finding that he had been deceived, his furious breathes created whirlwinds. And it is said, that devil’s breath still waits for the prey creating this bizarre spectacle.

Rifrullo del diavolo

The damnation of Santissima Annunziata:

Near the historic building of Piazza Santissima Annunziata, there is a palace made from red bricks popularly known as Palazzo Grifoni. Though there is nothing special about the building, there is, however, one window in this building that has given rise to several urban legends. This masterpiece truly spices up the secrets of Florence.

A particular window in this building is always open. According to legend, there once lived a scion of the Grifoni family with his wife during the late sixth century. The man went off to the war and his wife ran towards the window to greet him for the last time. She waited for her entire life standing near the window for her husband to return. But he never came back!

Now, there are two versions of the legend. Once narrates the story that people decided to keep the window open forever to pay their homage to the devotion and love of the wife towards her husband. On the contrary, another version of the legend says that the soul of the wife still awaits her husband’s return. And if anyone tries to shut the window, objects fly fiercely towards it until the window is reopened.

damnation of Santissima Annunziata fresco

Bull’s Head on the dome:

Yet another secret of Florence? Yes. The bizarre sculpture of a bull’s head in the decoration of Porta della Mandorla has been the centre of a funny legend. It is said that during the construction of the cathedral, a carpenter had an affair with the wife of a local merchant. Upon finding of the affair, the merchant condemned the workers and asked them to end the affair. The carpenter got his revenge from the merchant by placing the bull’s head on the dome as an eternal sign of the adultery.

Duomo bull

Hidden Details of Florence Baptistery:

The baptistery dedicated to St John the Baptist; a patron saint of Florence is a legend itself. It is located just in front of the Florence Cathedral and the hidden details of the art in the walls of the baptistery are sure to give you goosebumps. Be it the ancient Roman sarcophagus filled in the world or other minute details about the life in the ancient ages, the baptistery is surely a legend that has come alive right from the pages of history.

The dark medieval past of Florence has made this place mysterious and full of urban legends. So, do not waste your time. Visit the city and try to unveil the secrets of Florence that have baffled people for ages. 

florence baptistery saint john

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