Art history in Florence: The column of San Zanobi

Art history in Florence: The column of San Zanobi

Walking around the duomo area, you have certainly seen the San Zanobi column, located just in front of the entrance of the baptistery. It is dedicated to the memory of a miracle done by San Zanobi, the first bishop of Florence. The story behind the column tells about January 27th, year 429, the date when San Zanobi’s remains were transferred from the Church of San Lorenzo, the first Cathedral of Florence founded in 390AD, to Piazza del Duomo where the new Cathedral of Santa Reparata was being constructed.

When the procession passed the area of today’s piazza del Duomo – a tree grazed by San Zanobi’s bier began to sprout buds, new branches, and leaves – blooming in the heart of the winter.

This miracle is recalled by this column – and on the column in Gothic script almost illegible is the story and a darkened bronze relief of a tree in full bloom.

So every year I Fiorentini celebrate this miracle of San Zanobi on Jan 27, and decorate the base with flowers and greenery in his honor.

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