While in Florence, I walked down Via Cavour in the direction of the Galleria dell’Accademia. Just past the Feltrinelli International bookshop, and at my eye level, I noticed this intriguing decoration below the windows of the adjacent building.
When I got back back to Australia I downloaded Walks in Florence, by David Lown, onto my Kindle. David is an art historian who has lived in Rome and Florence, and now calls Venice home. He has written other guides, centred on Rome and Venice.
I was so delighted when I read this in his Florence guide “You can see the tell-tale signs of the idiosyncratic architect in the form of the bat’s wings under the windows … “
So, who was this architect? His name at birth was Bernardo Delle Girandole, but he was known as Bernardo Buontalenti, which translates to good talents. He hung around with and worked for the Medici family. (Thanks for the nudge, Bert: his true name was Bernardo Timante Buonacorsi, the Girandole came from his apparent work with pinwheels “girandole”)
He was a man of many talents. Aside from his architectural skills, he was a sculptor, painter, and mathematician. I’ve even read that he is credited with being the person to bring the delight we know as gelato into the world! What a hero.
There are many of his works to be found in Florence which I’ll be seeking on my next visit there. I’ll share any finds with you, for sure.