One of the symbols of Florence is the famous New Market, Loggia del Mercato Nuovo, built between 1547-1551 by Giovan Battista del Tasso under the direction of Grand Duke Cosimo I. In the niches are 17th century statues representing illustrious historical Florentines.
New Market was intended as a central market for silk and other luxury goods, but is sometimes called the Straw Market because goods woven out of straw, such as hats and baskets, were sold here from the end of the 19th century until the 1960s. Today's stallholders sell leather goods and souvenirs.
view a short movie clip showing the New Market fountain tradition (mov. format - 1.5 mb)
This market is also locally known as the Porcellino (swine) because of the 1612 fountain (Il Porcellino) by Pietro Tacca. This is a copy in bronze of the Roman marble statue of a wild boar that can be seen in the Uffizi. Its snout gleams like gold, thanks to the superstition that any visitor who drops a coin into the fountain and then rubs the snout will return to Florence some day. The coins are collected and distributed to the city's charities.