Tourist Attraction in San Giovanni Valdarno: Palazzo d'Arnolfo
The Palazzo Pretorio, known mainly as Palazzo d'Arnolfo by the name of Arnolfo di Cambio, is a 13th-century palace which for centuries constituted the center of power of the village of San Giovanni Valdarno. According to the historian Giorgio Vasari, the Arnolfo Palace project was the famous architect Arnolfo di Cambio. He would also have planned the structure of the city, giving it a typical appearance of the New Lands. In fact, the city of San Giovanni Valdarno is part of the Florence project of 1300, which consisted in designing cities with a rectangular plan with a door on each side and perpendicular streets that meet in a main square. The palace played military and government functions as a primitive building and is now home to the New Landscape Museum. The medieval plant, restructured already in the fifteenth century, has enjoyed restoration work that has brought it back to the ancient splendor. The original structure of the palace is not what we can admire today; it has been extended in length and width over time. For its resemblance to Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, San Giovanni is called "The Florence in Miniature". Palazzo d'Arnolfo hosts the Museo delle Terre Nuove which explains, with interactive paths, the history of this phenomenon that affected the Valdarno during 1200-1300. The ground floor consists of a large porch with four arches on the facades and six on the hips, supported by octagonal pillars adorned with the coat of arms of the dominant city: the Florentine lily, Florence emblem, and the eagle, emblem of the Guelph party. The marble statue is preserved in the atrium of the structure, a statue placed on a tall pedestal stone that characterizes the Florentine domination of the city: a seated lion holding the limb shield with the paw. The walls are of great interest in the frescoed coats of arms representing the prominent families of the country. The first floor features on the facades two loggias on columns and capitals of Renaissance style. A tower emerges from the center of the rear wall, with a double order of windows and is completed by a merlatura. The facade, perhaps the most important part of the entire building, is distinguished by more than two hundred and fifty blasons, representing the remains of all the vicariates of the city, from the oldest of 1410 to the most recent of 1772. These decorations are made of stone or ceramic tiles and others are sculpted in the pillars of the building, or are still painted in fresco. The coats of arms are made by the Della Robbia family, sculptors specializing in polycarbonated terracotta technique.