In Renaissance Florence, recycling construction materials, particularly stone and wood, or metal components, mostly in bronze, was a widespread method of procuring materials for architecture and art. Some very famous Florentine buildings, such as the Corridoio Vasariano, the Uffizi, Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo Medici Riccardi, were indeed built or restored using recycled materials; the statue of the Appennino in the Castello gardens was obtained by fusing defective artillery pieces. With the support of a vast archival documentation, this essay overturns the traditional belief that the choice of materials for architectural or artistic use depended exclusively on their aesthetic characteristics or their specific resistance, elucidating instead how the selection of given materials often originated merely from the immediate availability thereof.
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