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"Palazzo Vecchio: Interior" Palazzo Vecchio Tip by JoostvandenVondel

Palazzo Vecchio, Florence: 76 reviews and 158 photos

  Palazzo Vecchio: First Courtyard
by JoostvandenVondel
  • Palazzo Vecchio: First Courtyard - Florence
      Palazzo Vecchio: First Courtyard
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  • Fresco of Life of Furius Camillus, Detail - Florence
      Fresco of Life of Furius Camillus, Detail
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  • Fresco Chapel Signoria - Florence
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  • Coffered Ceiling Sala della Udienza - Florence
      Coffered Ceiling Sala della Udienza
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  • Palazzo Vecchio Interior, Crucifixion scene - Florence
      Palazzo Vecchio Interior, Crucifixion scene
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Upon entering the Palazzo Vecchio, the visitor is greeted with a series of three courtyards on the ground floor. The first, and most monumental, courtyard was designed in 1453 by Michelozzo. It is surrounded by grandiose arches and decorated columns while in the centre one can find the porphyry fountain by Battista del Tadda.

Perhaps the most imposing elements of the building's interior, however, is the Salone dei Cinquecento, 52 m. (170 ft.) long and 23 m. (75 ft.) broad. It was built in 1494 by Simone del Pollaiolo for the seat of the Grand Council (Consiglio Maggiore) which replaced the powerful Medici family as rulers of Florence during the family's first time in exile (1494–1512). The Grand Council consisted of 500 members and thus lent their name to this superb hall. Most of the decorations were made later, after the Medici family was back in power, between 1555 and 1572 by Giorgio Vasari in the highest style of mannerism.

The second floor contains more intimate yet no less grandiose rooms such as the Chapel of the Signoria, the Room of the Lilies (Sala dei Gigli) and the Sala dell'Udienza or Hall of Justice. Although I can't really recount all of the details of each room here, allow me to point out just a few.

Firstly, the Sala dell'Udienza is decorated with large wall frescoes by Francesco Salviati (mid 16th century) of the Stories of Furius Camillus. Furius was a Roman soldier and statesman of patrician descent (ca. 446-365 BC) who, according to Livy and Plutarch, triumphed (military victory) four times, was five times dictator and was honoured with the title of Second Founder of Rome. Proud and haughty, his triumphal parades were seen as overly pompous to a Rome not yet used to grossly overt displays of pagentry. One may guess the natural penchant of the leaders of the Florentine Republic for this hero of Antiquity. But don't forget to look upwards and marvel at the incredible coffered ceiling.

In my pictures (number 3) you will also a fresco located outside the Chapel of the Signoria, a small chapel on the 2nd floor, dedicated to St. Bernard. This chapel was for the use of the ruling body of Florence (the Signoria). Its nine priori would get their spiritual guidance here. This was also the chapel where Girolamo Savonarola said his last prayers before being burned at the stake (an apt ending for the man who carried out the Bonfire of the Vanities).
Directly above the door is Christ’s monogram IHS, an inscription, and a plaque in honor of Christ. Inside the chapel are magnificent frescoes by Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, which include The Holy Trinity and the Annunciation on the wall facing the altar.

Other rooms such as the Hall of the Lilies (Sala dei Gigli), the extraordinary Hall of Geographical Maps (Stanza del Guardaroba), the Study (Studiolo) and various other chapels and rooms are all richly decorated and wonderous to behold.

If you are largely interested in art, a visit to the interior of the palazzo would be a wonderful occasion to sample more of Florence's Mannerist and Renaissance delights. However, those of you who may not be as keen on the finer details of Renaissance art, it would probably be best to save your euros and energy for entry to the Uffizi.

The Palazzo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Thursdays it closes at 2 p.m.
Holidays 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The ticket office closes 45 minutes before the museum's closing time.
Entrance fee: € 6,00; combined ticket with Cappella Brancacci € 8,00 (which is a good deal).

Address: Piazza Signoria
Phone: +39 055 276 8465

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 5, 2009
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