Rete civica del Comune di Firenze
Versione italiano Italiano English Version English
Monday 06 December 2021
Rete Civica » HOME » Museo di Palazzo Vecchio » Visit the museum » Hall of Lilies

Hall of Lilies

 This room, like the Audience Chamber next door, results from the partition of an existing hall into two separate chambers by Benedetto da Maiano between 1470 and 1472. 18Domenico Ghirlandaio, San Zanobi tra i Santi Stefano e Lorenzo 
The walls were intended to receive a cycle of Illustrious Men, models of civic virtue, akin to the cycle that decorated the previous 14th century hall. In 1482 the Signoria entrusted its decoration to the greatest artists of the day, almost all of whom had recently returned from decorating the Sistine Chapel in Rome (Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, Perugino, Biagio d’Antonio, Piero del Pollaiolo); but only Domenico Ghirlandaio completed the task and frescoed one of the walls. The other three walls were decorated with the Angevin emblem of a gold fleur de lys on a blue ground surmounted by a red rake as a tribute to the French, longstanding defenders of Florentine freedom. The marquetry figures of poets Dante and Petrarch on the door leading to the Audience Chamber are part of the unfinished project.


Paintings: Domenico Bigordi, known as Ghirlandaio, fresco, 1482-1485
- San Zanobi, bishop and protector of Florence, between Sts Eugene and Crescentius and the Marzocco lion, the symbol of the city
- French fleur de lys decoration on the walls: Bernardo di Stefano Rosselli, fresco and gold leaf, 1490




Porta con Dante e Petrarca


Door with Dante and Petrarch: Giuliano da Maiano and Francesco di Giovanni, known as Francione, to a design by Sandro Botticelli, 1480, marquetry.














Donato de' Bardi, known as Donatello
(Florence, circa 1386 – 1466)
Judith and Holofernes
circa 1457 – 1464

The most likely hypothesis is that Piero de' Medici commissioned this famous work by Donatello in about 1457. It stood in the courtyard of the former Medici residence (now Palazzo Medici Riccardi) alongside a bronze David which the same sculptor had made for Piero's father Cosimo il Vecchio.

The Bible tells us that Hebrew widow Judith saved her village from the Assyrian army by seducing its general, Holofernes, and cutting off his head after getting him drunk. The sculpture symbolises the triumph of Virtue over Pride and Lust. The Bacchic scenes around the base allude to the latter vice. The unprecedented expressive power of the figures, caught in the very moment the heroine is about to deliver the final blow, was offset by the painterly effect of the gilding which decorated the sword, Judith's garments and the base, but that gilding has almost all now been lost.

Following the expulsion of the Medici and the proclamation of a republic, the Signoria seized the bronze in 1495 and moved it to Palazzo Vecchio, electing it to symbolise Florentine freedom. The statue was placed on the arengario, or stone platform, running around the façade of the building, on a marble and granite base attributed to Simone del Pollaiolo (known as Il Cronaca) with an inscription alluding to its new-found significance. In 1504 it had to make way for Michelangelo's David and in 1506 it was placed in the Loggia dei Lanzi where it remained until 1919, subsequently returning to the arengario. It was transferred to the Hall of Lilies in 1980 for conservation purposes and a replaced by a copy in situ.


città di firenze
Comune di Firenze
Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria
P.IVA 01307110484
Note Legali
Licenza Creative Commons

Amministrazione Trasparente: I dati personali pubblicati sono riutilizzabili solo alle condizioni previste dalla direttiva comunitaria 2003/98/CE e dal d.lgs. 36/2006