L’importuno di Michelangelo
Blog,  Europe,  Italy,  Travelogue

Michelangelo the vandal

Michelangelo’s genius left us some of history’s greatest paintings and sculptures scattered all over Italy. Could he have also indulged in a bit of vandalism on the side? 
View of David at Piazza della Signoria
View of David at Piazza della Signoria (Photo credit: Neel Mitra)

Travel to Italy is on the bucket list of pretty much any human with a passport. I consider myself lucky to have visited it twice. The first time was a rushed but eye-opening experience with Contiki. 

The clock tower at Palazzo Vecchio
The clock tower at Palazzo Vecchio (Photo credit: Neel Mitra)

The second trip was a lot more researched and relaxed with ample time to explore beyond the best of Italy and Florence.

Throng of tourists at the square
Throng of tourists at the square (Photo credit: Neel Mitra)

Next time you are in the beautiful city of Florence, take in all the magnificent food and culture. But also spare a moment to look where most don’t and explore the city’s secrets. 

Statue of David at Piazza della Signoria
Statue of David at Piazza della Signoria (Photo credit: Neel Mitra)

One such secret is a piece of art you might see without really seeing it. That’s right, just right of the doorway to the historic Palazzo Vecchio is a special stone brick, on the corner nearest the Uffizi Gallery. Look for the outline of a face that has been seemingly chiseled on to the stone.

The special stone brick
The special stone brick (Photo credit: Neel Mitra)

Legend has it that this scratching on the wall is the work of Michelangelo himself. While not proven, this simple caricature is simply known as the L’importuno di Michelangelo, or the Annoyer by Michelangelo.

Modern art that pales in comparison
Modern art that pales in comparison (Photo credit: Neel Mitra)

There are various theories regarding the scratching. They range from Michelangelo carving the face on a dare with his back facing the wall. While others say he immortalised a notorious bore who engaged him in conversation every time he passed that way, or yet another that says it is the face of a man whose execution he had witnessed in the square.

Posing in front of the stone brick
Posing in front of the stone brick

After you have spotted it, take a selfie or maybe even slap yourself on the back. Considering you have just glimpsed one of the hidden treasures of Florence. Ok, maybe it is not the hidden treasure it used to be till a few years back. But the L’importuno di Michelangelo is still a little piece of Florence most tourists end up overlooking.

Michelangelo the vandal
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An avid traveller. Collector of vinyl albums. I travel whenever I can. And if I'm not travelling, I keep myself entertained listening to some of my favourite albums. I also run my own advertising firm in Dubai. You can follow my adventures around the world and go through my collection of albums on Instagram @neelmitra

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