Firenze, Pitti Palace and Boboli gardens
Duration: 3 hours
This huge palace is among the greatest architectural examples in Florence. Originally the palace was built by the Pitti family in 1457 on a design by Filippo Brunelleschi and built by his pupil Luca Fancelli. The original construction included only the central part of the current building (the 7 central windows on the first floor). In 1549, the palace was sold to the Medici, becoming the residence of the grand ducal family.
Later it was enlarged and remodeled; in 1560 Bartolommeo Ammannati designed and built the large and sumptuous courtyard and added the two lateral wings. Cosimo II de ‘Medici had the square in front enlarged and opened. The facade has remained almost unchanged, except for the two wings that embrace the square desired by the Lorraine. The palace overlooks the famous Boboli Gardens.
The Medici first took care of the arrangement, creating the Italian garden model that became exemplary for many European courts. The vast green surface divided regularly, constitutes a real open-air museum, populated by ancient and Renaissance statues, adorned with caves, first of all the famous one made by Bernardo Buontalenti, and large fountains, such as that of Neptune and Ocean. The subsequent Lorraine and Savoy dynasties further enriched the structure, expanding the boundaries that line the ancient city walls up to Porta Romana.
Today Palazzo Pitti hosts some of the most important museums in Florence: on the first floor there is the Palatine Gallery with a large collection of paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries and the Royal Apartments with period furnishings dating back to the 19th century. On the ground floor and on the mezzanine floor there is the Treasury of the Grand Dukes (known as the Museo degli Argenti), which collects the large collection of precious objects that belonged to the Medici.
The Gallery of Modern Art is located on the top floor and houses a wonderful collection of paintings including Tuscan painters from the 19th and 20th centuries. In the Palazzina del Cavaliere, detached from the palace and immersed in the Boboli Gardens, there is the Porcelain Museum, while the Palazzina della Meridiana houses the Museum of Fashion and Costume (known as the Costume Gallery), which has clothes and artifacts from the fashion retracing the history of the last 300 years.