Florence curiosities: the upside down balcony

Florence is well-stocked with oddities, just look around while walking down the street to catch some of them. One of these, which strikes the eye of the most attentive ones, is the balcony located in Borgo Ognissanti, at number 12.
It certainly stands out: all the architectural elements that compose it are placed upside down.
This structural anomaly seems to have originated from a quarrel between the landlord, Baldovinetti, and Alessandro dè Medici, at the time lord of Florence.
Mr Baldovinetti wanted an imposing balcony, from which to look out in the street every morning and that could be admired by passersby; but Duke Alessandro dè Medici had rejected the builder's plan. This was due to the fact that the Duke himself had issued an order in 1530, which prohibited architectural elements that were excessively protruding, in order to make the city less claustrophobic and more harmonious, since the streets were very narrow. As a result, all the balconies of the city center were slowly being eliminated.

That stubborn Baldovinetti, however, did not want to give up, and continued to present his project top the Duke every day, making small changes, but always maintaining his beautiful balcony.
In the end Alessandro de Medici, exhausted and with the intention of discouraging Baldovinetti, granted the construction of the balcony on one condition: it was to be built upside down!
He certainly would not have thought that his unreasonable request would be taken seriously and it would come back to bite him.
The builder followed the directive to the letter and built a large balcony with all the architectural elements turned upside down: the balustrades, the volutes, the support shelves, everything.
Alessandro, perhaps amused by the spirit and tenacity demonstrated, allowed him to keep his bizarre balcony.
So in the end, Baldovinetti's perseverance prevailed and he succeeded in building not only the beautiful and imposing balcony as he wished, but a structure that could absolutely not go unnoticed and that is still being talked about today.



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