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Visit the Pitti Palace museum and the Boboli Gardens in Florence

Pitti Palace, an imposing palace located on the left bank of the Arno River in Florence, is one of the city’s cultural attractions. Known not only for its majestic architecture, but also for hosting the museum of the same name, Palazzo Pitti offers visitors a fascinating journey into the past and the world of art. Let’s explore its main attractions together, including the renowned Palatine Gallery and the Boboli Gardens.

History of Pitti Palace

The history of Pitti Palace begins in 1440, when the rich Florentine merchant Luca Pitti commissioned the construction of a grandiose residence. The project was entrusted to Filippo Brunelleschi, the architect who had already left his mark with the creation of the Dome of the Cathedral of Florence. However, due to financial problems, construction was interrupted and the palace passed into the hands of the Medici in 1549.

Under the rule of the Medici, Pitti Palace became the family’s main residence. Eleonora of Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici, was one of the first to move into the palace, helping to define its style and elegance. During this period, the palace underwent expansions and architectural transformations, becoming the fulcrum of the political and cultural life of Florence.

With the extinction of the Medici male line, Pitti Palace passed into the hands of the Lorraine dynasty in 1737. The Lorraines made further changes to the palace, including the creation of the Boboli Gardens, a landscape masterpiece that still enchants visitors today.

What to see at Pitti Palace?

The Palatine Gallery, located inside Pitti Palace, is a true art collection that boasts works by some of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance. Among the most famous works, paintings by Raphael, Titian, Rubens and other masters stand out. The layout of the spaces and the original furnishings of the building offer a unique experience, immersing visitors in an authentic atmosphere of the past.

Originating in the 18th century, the Palatine Gallery has its roots in the transfer of the splendid Pitti Palace to the Lorena family. The collection emerged through the compilation of artworks from the family’s diverse residences, giving rise to a space that bears witness to the grandeur of the grand ducal court.

Paintings such as “La Madonna del Granduca” by Raphael and “La Bella” by Titian represent the pinnacle of elegance and artistic perfection. The frescoes, decorated ceilings and original furnishings create an environment that makes art an integral part of the aristocratic residence.

Palatine Gallery at Pitti Palace

Treasury of the Grand Dukes

The Treasury of the Grand Dukes, also known as the “Silver Museum”, occupies what were once the summer apartments of the Medici family and preserves a vast collection of works of art that belonged to the family.

Among the treasures preserved there are ivory vases, carvings and jewels. The silver comes from the treasure of the bishop of Salzburg which was brought to Florence by Ferdinand III of Lorraine in 1815.

Ivory Grand Dukes Treasure

The Gallery of Modern Art at Pitti Palace was inaugurated in 1924 with the aim of collecting and exhibiting works of art dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries. This period marks an important transformation in art, with the emergence of new currents and movements that challenge previous artistic conventions.

One of the highlights of the collection is the works of the Macchiaioli, a group of Tuscan artists who embraced realism and significantly influenced the development of Italian art. The outdoor paintings and everyday scenes capture the essence of life in 19th-century Italy.

In addition, the Gallery features pieces by Italian symbolists and expressionists, providing a thorough exploration of the artistic inquiries prevalent during the period. These paintings, abundant in symbolism and emotion, narrate tales of deep introspection.

What to see in the Boboli Gardens?

With its majestic avenues, elegant fountains and breathtaking panoramic views, this Italian garden offers a regenerating break in the heart of Florence.

The Boboli Gardens were designed in the 16th century by the renowned architect Giorgio Vasari, commissioned by Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici. The idea was to create a grandiose garden that would serve as a scenic backdrop for the Pitti Palace. Over the centuries, the garden has been expanded and modified, becoming a refined example of an Italian garden.

At the center of the garden extends the majestic Viottolone, a long avenue lined with classical statues and centuries-old cypresses. This avenue takes visitors through the heart of the garden, offering picturesque views of the fountains and flower beds. The Artichoke Fountain, designed by Giambologna, and the Neptune Fountain are just some of the works that add charm to this lush environment. Hidden among the trees, the Buontalenti Cave is a surprising construction that combines natural elements with artificial sculptures.

At the far end of the garden is an open-air amphitheatre, surrounded by panoramic terraces. This space is used for cultural events and offers a spectacular observation point over the city of Florence.

Pitti Palace, with its architectural grandeur and its rich artistic heritage, continues to narrate the history of Florence through the centuries. From a noble residence to a treasure chest of artistic treasures, Pitti Palace remains an essential place for anyone who wants to understand the elegance and grandeur of the city.