The Loggia del Grano sports a magnificent bust of Cosimo II de’ Medici (r. 1609-21), the fourth grand duke of Tuscany. The mustachioed figure is the work of Chiarissimo Fancelli (1588-1632) and the bust sits in the middle of a splendid stemma (coat of arms). The Latin inscription proclaims Cosimo as EGENORUM PATRI (Father of those in need).
The Loggia del Grano, which functioned as a market for grain and cereals, was commissioned by Cosimo II from Giulio Parigi and built in 1619.
Cosimo II, who was only nineteen years old when he succeeded to power, did not enjoy the best of health and for much of his eleven-year-reign, he delegated the administration of his realm to his ministers.
The grand duke may been have been in poor health, but this did not stop him from fathering eight children during his marriage to Maria Maddalena of Austria (1589-1631). Cosimo II was only thirty years old when he died of tuberculosis in 1621.
Cosimo II was both the pupil and patron of the great Pisan scientist, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). In 1610 Galileo published his Siderius Nuncio (The Starry Messenger), which he dedicated to his esrtwhile pupil. Galileo also named the four moons, which he had observed in orbit around the planet Jupiter, the Sidera Medicea (Medicean stars) in honour of the grand duke and his three brothers.