The name for this item comes from the Rome Codex, a compilation of artifacts offered for sale in 1799 to pay for war debts. The name has stuck despite its inaccuracy–as a metal shield made in Pisa it is neither Florentine nor an escutcheon (which is strictly reserved for heraldry).

From an engraving prepared by one of his students in 1410, it appears that the Florentine Escutcheon was fashioned by master craftsman Gaetano Vitelli (fl. 1367-1409) of Pisa. Records indicate that he presented it to Giancarlo Peruzzi, the Florentine Gonfaloniere of Justice, in 1409. Peruzzi was one of the most powerful men in the Republic of Florence, and had been a key architect of Pisa’s conquest at their hands.

The 1410 engraving shows that the Florentine Escutcheon has a smooth surface. A 1420 painting shows it with five figures embossed in the metal, mounted on a wall behind its then-owner, the Podestà of Florence Luigi Ranieri (another high-ranking Florentine official). By 1430, when the item was sketched by Guido Nobili of the University of Pisa, it had a total of eight figures.

It is worth noting that, in the period 1409-1430, the Florentine Escutcheon appears to have had exactly eight owners aside fom Vitelli himself.

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