Orsanmichele is one of the most important Florentine architectures of the fourteenth century, the result of numerous renovations and functional events.
In the place where until the twelfth century was the oratory at S. Michele in Orto in 1290 Arnolfo di Cambio erected a lodge that was intended for the grain trade. This burned in 1304 and in 1337 Francesco Talenti started a new project to rebuild an even larger loggia-market; the construction ended in the year 1404 and the old building was raised by 2 floors.
This church of Orsanmichele was originally the grain market. The tabernacles decorating the four sides of the exterior had been under the patronage of the Medieval guilds and contain famous statues (mostly reproductions since the originals have been moved to museums) including Donatello’s magnificent St. George.
The building was completed after a long period of interruption in the works, between 1380 and 1404. It still constitutes a unique example of adherence to the most ornate and decorative styles of the late European Gothic architecture, desired by the Signoria as “templum” in stature et forma palatii “instead of the old loggia del Mercato del Grano, on the main road that connects Piazza del Duomo with Piazza della Signoria.
Inside the church of Orsanmichele is a jewel of Gothic art, the tabernacle by Orcagna (1355).