The outside of this gate, named after the now demolished nearby church, is impressive and the city is fortunate that it didn’t have idiotic local administrators who demolished it in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. I won’t name the not inconsiderable list of UK cities where marvellous city gates and barbicans were lost. Not only that, the city still has the keys to the gate, they’re now at the Palazzo Vecchio.
The gate was constructed between 1332 and 1334 under the instruction of Andrea Pisano and it was originally designed to be even taller.
The inside of the gate, which was located on the road to Pisa and is where King Charles VIII of France entered Florence in November 1494. This was when the Medici family were expelled from the city, although they returned a generation later, with the hope that a new moral climate would engulf the city. They got Niccolò Machiavelli, so perhaps all didn’t quite go to plan there…
The original wooden doors, which it must be said are subtle little things. I’m not entirely sure why they needed to make the door so high, but there was a design element to this gate and it was meant to look impressive, so that is perhaps the answer.