World ? Europe ? Italy ? Florence

Pitti Palace

Pitti Palace, Florence. ũ APT Firenze

Hours: Individual museum opening times vary
Cost: Free; individual museum charges apply
Former residence of the powerful Medici rulers, Pitti Palace sits south of the River Arno. Today it houses the Palatine Gallery, with its astonishingly lavish Royal Apartments, the Gallery of Modern Art and the Porcelain Museum, among many others.
The Pitti Palace Palazzo Pitti is an interminably vast historical complex of more than 32,000 square metres. Situated in the recently restored square of Piazza Pitti, this mighty palace was commissioned by the merchant Luca Pitti and designed by Filippo Brunelleschi around 1440. It was bought by the Medicis in 1550 and since then the history of architectural modifications to the place reads like a Who's Who of Italian architectural history.

The palace sits in the spectacular Giardino di Boboli, more than 320,000 square metres of fountains, caverns, sculptures and immaculate, botanically perfect gardens. The Palatine Gallery contains more than 1000 paintings by Europe's greatest painters, which can easily compete with the Uffizi galleries in the quality of exhibited artworks.

The Gallery of Modern Art has of 30 rooms, which contain more than 2000 works from the 18th and 19th centuries and includes the important works of the Macchiaioli (a group of Florentine artists whose work was characterised by spots!). Debate the "modernity" of the works, if you will, but nobody can question the artistic value of the collections.

The opulent Silver Museum, or Museo degli Argenti, preserves crystal vases, reliquaries and numerous handcrafted precious objects of Florentine and German origin: a dazzling display of sublimated yet conspicuous wealth.

There is also the Costume Gallery, containing a biannually updated exhibit detailing the various trends and currents of Florentine fashion through the ages, from the 17th century until the present day. The Carriage Museum, on the other hand, holds one of the most complete collections of its kind in Italy. Another interesting museum here is outside the main palace. In the Giardino di Boboli you can come across the precious little porcelain museum, containing odd bits and crockery from several successive dynasties of Florentine rulers.
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