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Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – The head of the bull

Among the many legends that are part of the tradition of Florence, there is a very old one. It regards the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. It is the legend of the bull’s head.

But let’s go with order. The Florentine Cathedral hides to the eye several details often invisible at a first glance. An example? If you look on the left side of the Duomo, between Via Ricasoli and Via dei Servi, you can see a marble gargoyle. This gargoyle depicts a large ox head, with horns.

The question that arises at this point spontaneously is: what is a bull’s head doing among the statues that adorn the Duomo of Florence?

The statue could be one of the many tributes to the various towing animals used to transport the materials necessary to realise the Cathedral. However, there is also another explanation for its presence. It’s a more curious and goliardic story: the legend of a betrayal and the original revenge of a lover.

Popular tradition narrates that around 1400, the construction of the Cathedral had already reached a certain height. In that period, there was a baker who was very jealous of his wife. He lived in a house in Via Ricasoli.

It seems that one of the master carpenters, who worked on the Cathedral, had become the lover of this woman. The husband had his store right there in front. Unfortunately, at a certain point the baker discovered the affair and denounced his wife for adultery to the Ecclesiastical Court.

Then, in order to take revenge, the master carpenter placed the head of the cuckolded bull right in front of the baker’s house. In this way, he would remember the betrayal forever.

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