Tuesday, April 23, 2013


You'd probably be feeling old, too, if you served the City of Florence for as long and faithfully as this building has since it was completed in 1302.  The palace has had many roles:  the historical seat of government of Florence in the Middle Ages, a Medici palace in the mid-16th century, the administrative center of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and later the same role when Florence was the capital of Italy, and and finally the town hall of the commune of Florence.  It became known as the "old palace" when the Medicis moved their headquarters to the Pitti Palace.

Now its role is just to show off all its history.  

It's an impressively large building with a fairly plain exterior.

But as soon as you enter the interior, you begin to see the sumptuousness of the interior. 

After visiting a small museum, this is the first room I entered.  Pretty impressive, eh?  It's a great hall that seats about 500.  The frescoes lining the walls on the left and right are all battle scenes.  There's a great deal of statuary standing below those frescoes.

Including this little piece by Michelangelo, Genius of Victory.

I proceeded to tour the rooms on the first floor, all of which are dedicated to one of the famous Medicis, and they're all appropriately frescoed to reflect their personalities and events in their lives.  This lunette depicts Lorenzo Medici at the center, of course.

And this is Leo X receiving his Papal crown.

The frescoes all in these rooms are amazing, and I could share many photos of them, but seeing these rooms in their entirety is really an unforgettable experience.  Getting the sense of "the whole" personality of these Medicis is what's memorable.

I can't remember where this fresco was.  It's about the life of Furius, a Roman solider and statesman.

Above these rooms on the first floor are the "Apartments of the Elements".  These rooms are similarly frescoed, with the honorees being the gods above.  The intention of the design was to have the Medicis, the powerful rulers of the earth, on the level below the gods who, of course, favored them by bestowing power and riches to the family.

There are several notable works of art in this palace, another of which is a statue by Donatello, Judith and Holofernes.

And this one by Andrea del Verrocchio, Putto with Dolphin.

One of the most interesting room is kept for last.   The Map Room has a wonderful collection of globes and 57 maps painted on leather, showing the world as it was known in 1563.

There is so much more to this palace than I've shown here.  I could share photo after photo of beautiful frescoes and art works housed in this place.  But I can only whet your appetite; there are lots of photos on the internet if you want to see more!

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