If a trip to the Uffizzi, the Academia and the Bargello has left you bellowing ‘not enough Michelangelo! Give me more!’, you’ll kick yourself for missing this unassuming patch of stonework.
Look to the right corner the Palazzo Vechio, next to the entrance, and you’ll find an intriguing etching of a man’s profile, which was allegedly carved by the man of the moment himself – Michelangelo. There are several stories explaining its origins – all equally unbelievable but all utterly fantastic.
One popular story tells that Michelangelo often used to encounter a tiresome old busybody when passing through Piazza della Signora. One day, embroiled in a boring conversation and armed with a chisel and mallet behind his back, Michelangelo decided to carve out the face of his companion into the stone behind him. Another, more macabre, explanation tells that Michelangelo caught a glimpse of a man being led through the streets to the gallows, and, overcome with a need to document his face, he decided to etch his face onto the closest surface, the Palazzo Vechio. If neither of these explanations inspire you, another commonly told story tells that Michelangelo was challenged to deface the palace, and to avoid being caught, did so with a chisel behind his back.
Unbelievable? Yes. Likely? Potentially.. it is protected after all.
L'Importuno di Michelangelo is located next to the entrance of the Palazzo Vechio (on the right hand corner), on the Piazza della Signora