Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Florentine animals - Passeggiata
Animals aren't uncommon in Florence, and never have been: the Piazza della Signoria, home to the copy of Michaelangelo's David and a considerable amount of Pico wee, was once also home to a giraffe and a family of lions. Their peaceful existence was not the rule, however. On the 25th June 1514 the square was used for a wild animal hunt. The townsfolk built wooden grandstands around the square, placed fountains and fake trees in the middle, sealed the exits and introduced, according to an eyewitness report:

...two lions and bears, leopards, bulls, buffaloes, stags and many other wild animals of various kinds, and horses...All the stands and enclosures were crowded, as also the windows and roofs, such a concourse of people never having been known, for numbers of strangers had come from different parts. Four cardinals had come from Rome, disguised...

By the end of the day, three men had been killed, and many of the animals. The lions, cowed by the noise and numbers of the crowd - perhaps forty thousand in all - spent most of the day hiding in a corner.

bet you did not know that.


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