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Curiosities of Florence: Piazza della Passera


photo credit: Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni
Piazza della Passera - Gelatoria della Passera - photo credit: Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni

Piazza della Passera is famous for the delicious restaurant 4Leoni and the cute bar for happy hour and an after dinner gelato.


Here's a little history of this tiny piazza:

During the thirteenth century, Florentine law divided up the city into various named quarters, which were each assigned a flag. The area, which now hosts piazza della Passera, came under the zone Quattro Leoni (four lions), boasting a yellow flag with four red lions. One of the piazza’s renowned trattorias, 4Leoni, has retained this historical name from the time of the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo de’ Medici.


You might wonder why this piazza is important. There are two legends around the name of the piazza.

  1. Legend of the Dying Sparrow: According to the legend, during the year 1348, Florence was devastated by the Black Death, a deadly plague. As narrated by Giovanni Boccaccio in the Decameron, the story goes that children discovered a dying sparrow in the piazza. Despite their efforts, they were unable to save the bird, and it eventually died. The death of the sparrow was believed to have brought the Black Death to Florence, leading to the widespread plague that resulted in the deaths of many people.

  2. Slang Meaning and Prostitution: The more widely accepted explanation for the name "Passera" is rooted in its slang meaning, which refers to female genitalia. This interpretation suggests that the name may have originated from the presence of a brothel in the area where the square is located. The peculiar shape of the square is attributed to the layout or history of the brothel.


Which legend do you believe?


photo credit: Vacation Perfect
Piazza della Passera-looking at 4Leoni Restaurant - photo credit: Vacation Perfect


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