LATITUDE 43.767642 LONGITUDE 11.2559063 HEIGHT S.L.M 52 MT

The name dates back to 1572 when the Judges of Wheel for the Civil Causes (so called for the rotation of the assignments) were transferred there, who took possession of the Palazzo dei Castellani the current Museum of the History of Science.


In ancient times it was called Piazza d'Altafronte, from the name of the castle that once stood there, the castle is documented since 1180 as an articulated complex of buildings, although the origin of the first nucleus could date back to the 9th or 10th century, since they were found traces of a massive wall, dating back perhaps to the time of Matilde di Canossa, which connected the site of the castle with the first city wall. This wall replaced a previous embankment in the earth, testified since the sixth century, and flanked up to the mouth in Arno with a moat called Scheraggio, along the present Via Castellani. In this position the castle had an important defensive function for the city, assuming the function of closing the fortifications towards the river and protecting the river port of Florence and the constructions built between the river and the walls.
The name derives from the Altafronte family who owned it until 1180, when it was ceded to the powerful Ghibelline family of the Uberti.
In 1297 they were joined by the bridge built, probably on a design by Arnolfo di Cambio, in a point of ancient crossing from the early Middle Ages.
In the flood of 1333, which destroyed the bridge, the castle was heavily damaged and passed to the Castellani family from which the square took its name until the installation of the Judges of the Wheel suppressed in 1841 to leave room for the Accademia della Crusca which they left the place at the current Science Museum.

The castle residence of Marilde of Canossa:

In 1077 Matilde was deposed by the marquisate of Tuscany and all the Tuscan cities denied the one who had been their lady for so many years. All but not Florence and it is there, just outside the "Matildine walls" that takes up residence.

Other important guests

In 1439 lived Demetrio Paleolologo brother of Giovanni Imperatore of the East on the occasion of the Council of Florence where, on 6 July the bull Laetentur Coeli was promulgated ("let the heavens rejoice") with which Pope Eugene IV announced the re-composition of the schism among the Churches of the East and of the West

From tiratoio to chamber of commerce

Since the Middle Ages the clearing in front of the building was destined to Tiratoio (where they put to dry the pieces of dyed cloth, after spreading them, to take the desired width and length) of the Arte della Lana, until 1858 when it was built the neoclassical building of the Chamber of Commerce and the Stock Exchange



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