Changing of the Guard
Florence, like so many other European cities, has its own Changing of the Guard. Here, however, it doubles as a historical re-enactment in costume to honor the Medici of Florence.
The Florence Changing of the Guard is actually inspired by a tradition that originated in the 1500s. The Palazzo Vecchio was the seat of the Signoria’s political power and was defended by a special group of soldiers called the Army of the Florentine Republic, also known as the Fanti di Palazzo. Once the watch was over, other soldiers arrived to take over from the Fanti di Palazzo with a solemn ceremony that honored the important task of protecting the Palace and the members of the Signoria Government.
As it was then, the Changing of the Guard is still held on the Arengario of Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria every first Sunday of the month, every hour from 9 am to 1 pm. The Historical Procession is held in costumes from the Republic of the sixteenth century, and is composed of musicians, flag bearers, and soldiers that accompany the city’s Banner to the Arengario. Here, accompanied by trumpets and performances by flag-throwers, the Captain leads a group of soldiers in standing guard over the Banner, until 1 pm when the guard steps down and returns with the Banner. The Changing of the Guard takes place on the Arengario at the strike of every hour.