The history of this building bears witness to the way in which Christianity was woven into the city’s civil society in an osmotic relationship of mutual exchange. The loggia of Orsanmichele was originally used as a corn market, but it became a religious building with the introduction of the devotion to an icon of the Virgin Mary.
This is probably why, the silk guild, which had been assigned the building, decided to turn it into a symbol of the power of the guilds in 1336, creating twelve tabernacles on the pillars with statues of their patron saints.
The coats of arms of the guilds were added above each coat of arms, designed as a fresco or in glazed coloured terracotta. The earliest ones are practically illegible now, although the latter ones can still be seen. The statues in the tabernacles are copies of the originals.