It was from the Hall of the 500 that the Renaissance started to change the medieval culture of the western world. Known as the Salone dei Cinquecento or the Sala del Gran Consiglio, the Hall was where the city’s elite exchanged ideas, determined policy and administered Florentine daily life during the 15th and 16th centuries. Politicians, philosophers, artists, leading members of the guilds and the city's rulers, the Medici, used the Salone as their seat of power - their parliament. To this day, it remains at the heart of the Florence’s political life.
However, over the centuries the Hall was significantly altered by post-Renaissance renovation projects to accommodate changes in the way the city council operated. The most significant change was that made in 1563 by Vasari, who was commissioned to redesign the interior, by adding height and changing the positions of the interior walls. However, in a long-term research project funded by the Kalpa Group, Dr Seracini has been carrying out detailed analyses of the original structure, using architectural drawings, accurate interior and exterior measurements, and thermographic and radar techniques. During work carried out during the 2003-4 research programme, Dr Seracini’s team used thermographic analysis to detect temperature differences between adjacent areas of wall, which revealed the location of previously undetected doors and windows, as well as discovering the gap between Vasari’s wall and Leonardo’s Battle of Anghiari. Laser range-finding technology has been utilised to create a three-dimensional computer simulation of the Hall of the 500 as it was in 1504 when Leonardo began his ambitious commission, and long before Vasari’s renovations.
The Da Vinci Detective
During the course of 2005-6, the Kalpa Group allowed Channel 4 and Darlow Smithson Productions, a leading U.K. production company, exclusive access to the research work of Dr Maurizio Seracini as he investigated The Adoration of the Magi and The Battle of Anghiari. The film, The Da Vinci Detective, was first transmitted by Channel 4 on 20 May 2006, and was recently purchased by the Smithsonian Institute.
See an extract from 'The Da Vinci Detective' (a high speed internet ~ 256Kbps preferred)