The Piazzale delli Uffizi is very small. The main area is taken up by the gallery, one side is bordered by an architectural wonder from Vasari, and the far end is crowned by an arch which leads one to the River Arno.
It was the Duke Cosimo de 'Medici, ruler of Venice, who in 1564 commissioned Vasari to make his corridor for the wedding day of the duke’s son. If you walk along the Vasari Corridor near the Palazzo Vecchio you can see the famous statue, the Fountain of Neptune. The god of the sea has a face very similar to that of Cosimo de 'Medici. This is no surprise, as all the buildings on the Piazzale delli Uffizi were constructed thanks to his funding and influence. To the left of the Palazzo Vecchio is the statue of David by Michelangelo, while to the right we encounter Hercules slaying the fire-breathing monster, Cacus. This ferocious son of Vulcan feasted on virgins and infants, and was also partial to a bit of beef. When Hercules discovered that his own cows were being stolen and devoured, Cacus’ fate was sealed.
Note the Loggia dei Lanzi, which adjoins the Palazzo Vecchio. Earlier, this spot was occupied by guards’ quarters for a platoon of German mercenaries, but with the completion of the Uffizi Gallery, the guardhouse was deemed to be not attractive enough for the square. Medici commanded that the front wall be demolished, and the resulting gap between the arches should be filled by sculptures. On the far left is Cellini’s masterpiece of Perseus beheading Medusa the Gorgon. Next we see Achilles’ son, Neoptolemus, about to kill Polyxena, who let slip the secret of Achilles’ vulnerable heel, and on the far right is the Rape of the Sabine Women. In the doorway arch which leads to the river Arno, we see Verrocchio’s statue, Little Boy with Dolphin. What you see here is a copy. The original is over 500 years old, and so it is stored in the Palazzo Vecchio. The other statues in the doorway are much more recent, and depict people from the arts, sciences and culture who have contributed to the city's history.
One particularly noteworthy memorial is dedicated to the famous philosopher, writer and politician, Niccolo Machiavelli.
He was indifferent to art, which in Florence was admired by almost everyone. Machiavelli lived in a different dimension - cruel, rational, and concerned only with the laws of logic and common sense. His most lauded work, The Prince, is a rather cruel and cynical beginner’s guide to politics.