The Column of Saint Zenobius rarely gets a mention in most guide books, in spite of its very prominent position in the heart of Florence.
Zenobius (337-417), who is venerated as the first bishop of Florence, is one of the city's patron saints. The column was erected in 1384 to commemorate a miracle, which had taken place, almost one thousand years earlier, in 429, when the saint's body was being transferred from the church of San Lorenzo to Santa Reparata, the city's old cathedral. The event took place in the dead of winter and, as the body was being carried past an elm, the tree is believed to have miraculously burst into leaf.
There is a metal branch of an elm tree attached to the column in memory of the miracle. The flowering marble cross atop the column is a copy; the original is on display in the nearby Museo dell' Opera del Duomo.
St Zenobius' feast day is celebrated on May 25th.