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HIDDEN TREASURES OF FLORENCE: FERDINANDO’S BEES Statue of grand duke of Tuscany Ferdinando I Piazza S.S. Annunziata - Firenze

S.S. Annunziata Square, one of the most suggestive of Florence, houses the equestrian statue of the Grand Duke Ferdinando I, realized by Giambologna and by his favorite apprentice Pietro Tacca from 1602 to 1607. The statue was made of the bronze from the cannons of the Saracen ships, beaten by the Knights of St. Stefano: on the base of the statue, exactly on the side facing the Church of S.S. Annunziata, you can see a panel featuring the family crest of Ferdinando I, a swarm of bees spread in concentric rows in a staggered way around the queen bee. This emblem symbolizes the Grand Duke’s government , as Ferdinando I, exactly like a queen bee, wisely ruled the Florentine people, represented by the worker bees. This pattern is so odd that it is almost impossible to count the exact number of bees: someone counts 91, someone 99, some other 101! The tradition tells that he will be lucky, who can count all the bees without touching or pointing to them.

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