Posted by: Debra Kolkka | December 9, 2014

A little devil in Florence

I have passed the little devil in Via degli Strozzi many times without really taking much notice.

Little devil in Florence

Once I discovered more after reading about it in Secret Florence, I became much more interested.

The insolent little devil keeping watch over the corner is a bronze by Giambologna (1529 – 1608 ). It was commissioned by Bernado Vecchetti to commemorate a mysterious incident in Florence.

In 1425 a Dominican friar was preaching against heresy in Piazza del Mercato ( now Piazza della Repubblica ) when a startled black horse ran into the square.

The friar realised it was a ruse by the Devil to distract his listeners and raised his hand to make a sign of the cross over the satanic beast. The beast withdrew and disappeared around the corner of Palazzo Vecchietti, leaving nothing but a plume of smoke and a smell of sulphur.

Look up next time you pass the corner of Palazzo Vecchietti and have a good look at the little devil. He has been looking down for a very long time.

On an different note, Italy Magazine blogger awards are again seeking nominations. I would love it if you have to time to nominate Bagni di Lucca and Beyond in any category you like. Click here to go the the nomination page.

Little devil in Florence


  1. Cheers to your research for finding the story behind this intriguing observer.

    • I think he is a very cute little devil and I like him even more now that I kniw his story.

  2. It was customary, at the time, to associate black animals with demons and spirits. There was a similar incident in Verona with a black horse.
    Personally, I find the little demon very cute and not scary…

    • I don’t think he is scary at all. I always say hello when I pass.

  3. Will definitely find it next spring…..your “finds” make our lists of must do’s longer and longer each visit….Mille grazie

    • It is really easy to spot. It is in the street diagonally opposite Palazzo Strozzi.

  4. It’s always good to know the history of things it makes looking at them, in real life or in a photo, so much more interesting.

    • It does make things more interesting if you know the background.

  5. Ho fatto la nomination. Buona fortuna!

    I’ve seen little devils like that in Venice, in a private courtyard. I wonder if there is a similar story to them? The “Secret” series are just so full of things to find and delight in!

    • Gracie, may I do the same for you? The Secret books are great. I have found lots of wonderful things I wouldn’t have noticed.

      • That would be very exciting, thank you!

      • Done.

  6. Debra, may I please reblog this on my blog?

    • Please do, he is cute isn’t he?

  7. Reblogged this on Hello World and commented:
    Thank you to Debra Kolka who writes this excellent blog. She gives us a little history of a little devil you’ll see if you keep your eyes open in Florence.

    I had written about similar objects that are to be found in Venice, and I wonder if there is some connection between the little critters?

  8. So glad I bought the book !!! You have used it more than me – but I have benefited in all ways 🇮🇹

    • The book is great. It has opened up all sorts of possibilities.

  9. I nominated your blog! Good luck!

    • Thank you for that. I will let you all know how it goes.

  10. Can’t wait to meet the devil. It will have to be next year when weather warms up a bit.

    • Florence is great in winter. You get to see the city without crowds.

  11. A very interesting story about this sweet little devil. I’ve nominated your blog, Debra. Good luck. 🙂

    • Thank you for nominating the blog. I will let you know the results when I know.

  12. Soooooo wanna wanna that book! Could you please tell us again who wrote it/ published it? I am trying to get someone to buy me that for Christmas, or birthday or just buy it myself 🙂
    Such great photographs again Debra, thanks!

  13. Reblogged this on Tiffani Leon's site "In Search of Lost …".

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