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The conference will take place in two prestigious locations: Palazzo Vecchio and the Palazzo di Parte Guelfa.
October 9 2013
Hall of the Two Hundred
La Sala dei Duecento (The Hall of the Two Hundred)
This large hall belongs to the oldest part of the Palazzo, built between 1299 and the first two decades of the following century. Built to hold meetings of the Citizen Council, it got its current name in the sixteenth century when Duke Alessandro de' Medici reformed the popular assembly and increased its number to 200. Entrance to the room was originally gained from the primary courtyard. It had a separate recess—called the “Secret”—for counting ballots, an altar and high-backed chairs for the Signoria. The layout is depicted in the Vasari painting on the ceiling of the Salone dei Cinquecento representing the Orazione di Antonio Giacomini per la Guerra di Pisa (Prayer of Antonio Giacomini for the War with Pisa). Going from the date of the painting, the room already featured the precious wood stage with lacunar insets of rosettes surrounded by Angevin lilies, the freeze with garlands and shields bearing the city's emblem that Giuliano da Maiano and his collaborators realized in the 1480s. During the Republican era from 1496 to 1512, and again from 1527 to 1530, the Council met in the room that had been created especially to hold its increasing members, the Salone dei Cinquecento. The “old hall” was used for Senate meetings. After the return of the Medici, the hall regained its original purpose, even though it was for a different Council than the original 200 members. The hall was used until the rise of Cosimo I and the transfer of the ducal court to Palazzo Vecchio in 1540, when he declared a swift end to the original functions of the Palazzo as citizen magistracy. During this period, a series of precious tapestries featuring the Stories of Joseph were commissioned by Cosimo I to decorate the hall during special occasions. Part of the series is now displayed in the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome; another portion hang in the restoration workshops in Palazzo Vecchio. During the short-lived Liberal movements of 1848, the room returned to the centre of the city's political life as the Senate chambers. Only in 1872, after the Palazzo was ceded to the City of Florence, did it regain its ancient and prestigious role as the seat of the Citizen Council.