The Palazzo Pitti was originally the home of the Pitti family, who were wealthy bankers in Florence. It was sold to Eleanor of Toledo, wife of Grand Duke Cosimo I Medici, in 1550 and became the home of the ruling family. Today is houses a huge art collection and hosts special exhibitions. In nice weather, the attached Boboli Gardens are a pleasure to stroll through. There is a private walkway, the Vasari Corridor which was created by Vasari for the Medici family to get from the Palazzo Vecchio and Uffizi (when they were government office buildings) to their home at the Palazzo Pitti.
We went to the Palazzo Pitti to see a special exhibition that had some Renaissance works on display, such as Verrocchio’s David and Botticelli’s Athena & Centaur, both of which were removed from the Bargello museum for this exhibit.
NOTE: If you have specific art works that you want to see, always check with the museums to see if they have been removed for a special exhibit somewhere else. During my stay, I had to visit two additional museums to see some of the pieces being studied.
After touring the special exhibit, we toured the primary art gallery of the museum (The Palazzo Pitti houses several different museums and galleries, including the Boboli gardens house the Palatine Gallery, the Silver Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Costume Gallery, the Porcelain Museum and the Museum of Carriages.
The gallery appeared to be a jumbled mix of works with no real reasoning behind the placement of the art, except maybe that the frame would fit in the spot. Artists were spread around in different rooms, as well as time periods. Some completely stood out as seemingly out of place (like an official portrait of England’s Queen Elizabeth I). There is also period furniture on display and unique things such as Napoleon’s bathtub.
From the upstairs windows you get a nice view of the Boboli Gardens, said to have been done in a Mannerist style by a student of Michelangelo.
The museum does not allow backpacks to be taken into the gallery – they have a bag check near the entrance. The bathrooms are located on the lower level near the bag check. Also near the entrance is a café.
While the museum was interesting, had the Renaissance pieces we came to see not been there, I probably would not go again to visit the Palazzo Pitti, except to wander the gardens on a nice day.
As we were walking back from the Palazzo Pitti, I was reminded of my first trip to Florence. Hubby and I had gotten some gelato nearby and took a peaceful walk away from the crowds. First, let’s find that gelato!
When Cosimo I de Medici and his wife Eleonora acquired Palazzo Pitti, they immediately laid out plans to build a somptuous royal garden at the back of their new residence. Even though they're not as big as, say, the ones at Versailles, the Boboli Gardens remain one of the best examples of Italian-style gardens, where trimmed hedges compete with wilderness in a beautifully organized ensemble, punctuated with numerous statues and fountains. From the Palazzo Pitti, the gardens rise up a small hill, so it's also possible to enjoy great views of the city. Speaking of great views, our ticket to the Boboli Gardens also included access to the smaller Giardino Bardini, from where you get an even better view of the city. From what little information I could gather, Giardino Bardini once belonged to Stefano Bardini, a 19th century art collector and restorer, who would use the garden to showcase some of the pieces in his collection. After his death, the garden was abandoned throughout most of the 20th century, and it has just recently been retored and opened to the public.
I'd say it takes at least a couple of hours to walk around both gardens, and you'll need even more time if you plan on visiting some of the museums. There is a combined ticket available for the Boboli Gardens and Palazzo Pitti's silver, costume and porcelaine museums for 10 Euros.
This place had me cross-eyed after a couple of hours.
The largest museum complex in Florence, Palazzo Pitti comprises at least five different galleries and two gardens. All of them are either in or around a sprawling, 15th-century palace built by Florentine banker Luca Pitti, and occupied successively and for varying lengths of time by members of the Medici dynasty (who doubled the size), the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, Napoleon, and Italian king Victor Emmanuel II.
It has an interesting little connection with Luxembourg Palace in Paris in that Marie de Médicis, second wife of Henri IV and mother of Louis XIII, ordered the design of her French residence to follow that of her birthplace in Florence.
At the core of the complex are the Palatine Gallery and Royal Apartments: 28 and 14 rooms, respectively, in opposing wings of the palace. Palatine is a visual assault of floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall paintings in lavishly decorated spaces, some with original Cortona frescoes. Largely amassed by the Medici family, it’s a vast collection including masterworks by Titian, Caravaggio, Raphael (his “Madonna of the Chair" is lovely), Lippi, Rubens, Murillo and others. They’re arranged higgledy-piggledy instead of grouped by style, artist or era so, yep, great bunch of stuff but we crawled out of Room 28 seriously shell-shocked with the apartments and four more galleries still to go.
Royal Apartments: a quick walk through more art and fancy-schmacy furniture
Costume Gallery: a gentle jog by glass cases of funny old clothes
Silver Museum: a fast trot ‘cause all I could think about was having to polish all that hardware
Modern Art Gallery: a dead run towards the nearest exit
At this point we staggered off to the Boboli Gardens and a clutter-free, gilt-free dose of green which I’ll cover in a separate review. In a nutshell? It’s well worth the ticket if you’re an art lover; just don’t try and do the entire complex in one day.
Good things to know:
• I'm reading that many tourists find the ticketing structure confusing so to clarify:
a. Ticket option #1 covers the Royal Apartments, Palatine and Modern Art Galleries but not the gardens or other galleries
b. Ticket option #2 covers Silver, Porcelain and Costume Galleries, Boboli and Bardini Gardens but not the apartments, Palatine or Modern Art Galleries
c. Ticket Option #3 covers the whole shootin’ match EXCEPT during special exhibits
d. Firenze Cards or Friends of the Uffizi Passes cover entrance fees to all of the museums/gardens
The Carriage Museum is currently closed so ticket structure may change again when its re-opened.
• The price of tickets may change depending on special exhibits
• Hours and closure days vary per museum/gallery so check the website info for each of them when planning your visit
• Most of the galleries are handicapped accessible with just a few areas which are not: see the website
• The palace has a cafe, bookshop and restrooms
• Umbrellas, large bags and backpacks must be checked (free)
• Photography/filming is NOT allowed in the museums but is OK in the gardens
The website can be a bit of a pain to navigate as you’ll need to re-click the UK flag (upper right corner) for English with nearly every page change.
One of the most visited sites on the southern bank of the Arno, The Palazzo Pitti was originally built, following a design by Brunelleschi, as a residence for the banker Luca Pitti, around the middle of fifteenth century, The Medici purchased the building a century later and commisioned Bartolomeo Ammannati to enlarge it.
It houses the private art collections of the Medici family, at the Galleria Palatina ( 8:30am - 6:50pm - Last Admission: 5:30pm )
The Gallery of Modern Art ( 8:30am - 1:50pm -
Last Admission: 12:30pm ) holds over two thousand works providing a panorama of Tuscan art from the 18th to 20th century.
Behind the palazzo you will find the Boboli Gardens - a nice place to relax enjoying beautiful views of the city.
For some reason, Palazzo Pitti doesn't seem to be quite as popular as the museums located on the other side of the Arno River, but if someone were to ask me what to do with only one day in Florence, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a visit to the Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens. Construction of the palazzo began in 1457. It was built for Luca Pitti, a rich banker who wanted his new home to be bigger and more luxurious than the newly built Palazzo Medici. Unfortunately, Pitti suffered substantial financial losses just a few years after work had begun, and he died before the palace was completed. Ironically, it was the Medici family who bought Palazzo Pitti in 1549 and they saw to it that the palazzo be competed so it could become the new residence of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. In 1919, the King of Italy decided to give Palazzo Pitti to the nation so that it could be turned into a museum. A total of 140 rooms are now divided into 5 different galeries: the Palatine Gallery, the Royal Appartments, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Costume Gallery and the Silver Museum.
The palazzo doesn't necessarily look like much from the outside. The architecture is somewhat simple and austere, almost like that of an office building. However, once you get inside, things are quite different. The 14 rooms that make up the Royal Appartments are beautiful, and the Galleria Palatina presents a collection of over 1000 Renaissance paintings that belonged to the Royal Family, including some great ones by Raphael (look for "Madonna della seggiola" and "La donna velata"), Botticelli, Rubens, Caravaggio and Andrea del Sarto, just to name a few. In each room there is information available in English describing the different works of art and providing historical information about the rooms themselves (for who would not want to see Napoleon's bathroom?!). Finally, although we didn't spend as much time in it, the Galleria d'Arte Moderna was also worth a visit. This museum specializes in Tuscan art from 1794 to 1924 and I thought it was interesting to see how Italian painters were gradually influenced by other European schools after having led the world of art for so long.
There's a combined ticket available for the Galleria Palatina, Royal Appartments and Gallery of Modern Art (12 Euros) - and there's almost no line-up! - but it doesn't give access to the Boboli Gardens.
The Italian Renaissance spawned not just fabulous art and architecture but gardens as well. Green spaces arranged in tightly ordered symmetry - embellished with sparking fountains, grottos and statuary - came into fashion during the 15th century fueled by descriptions of gardens once attached to ancient Greek and Roman villas, and with some exotic Arab influences tossed in as well. The Medici were especially influential in the 16th-century movement, extending an image of wealth, power and cultivation beyond the interiors of opulent palazzos to the enormous expanses around them. The same distinguished artisans commissioned to decorate the churches and piazzas of Florence were employed to further enhance that image with sculpted heraldic, allegorical and mythical representations for carefully designed nooks and crannies.
The Boboli Gardens were designed for Cosimo I de' Medici and his Spanish wife, Eleonora de Toledo, when they bought Palazzo Pitti in1549, and were enlarged over successive centuries. They are a welcome breath of fresh air after hours inside the over-the-top galleries of the palace itself but don’t expect masses of flowers: gardens from this era were focused on shrubs and clipped hedges, trees, lawns and water features. You may find the rose gardens in bloom at Casino del Cavaliere (which houses the Porcelain Museum) at the top of a long, long climb up the hill rising behind the palace: well worth it for some nice overlooks of Florence and Tuscan countryside. Otherwise, just enjoy a walkabout to rest your eyes before heading off to another round of churches and museums.
Good things to know:
• To stress again, these are not the definition of gardens that many tourists expect so if florals are your thing, you’ll probably find those of the Pitti sort of, er, pitiful?
• This is also not a good choice for persons with mobility issues: lots of steps and uphill slopes involved
• Please note the ticket structure on the website carefully as the gardens are not included with those ONLY for the Palatine/Royal Apartments/Modern Art Gallery combo.
• Entrance is covered under the Firenze Card and Friends of the Uffizi Pass
• Find a map here
• Closed on the 1st and the last Monday of each month, New Year's Day, May 1st and Christmas Day. See the website for hours as they vary during different seasons.
This palace was built for the banker Luca Pitti in the second half of the ‘400. Probably it was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. Eleonor of Toledo; wife of Cosimo I, duke of Florence bought it in 1550. They lived there after they moved from Palazzo Vecchio. The House of Lorraine lived there from 1737 to 1859; with a a break of about 15 years (from 1799 to 1814) when Tuscany was dominated by Napoleon. On the 27 april 1859, Tuscany joined the Kingdom of Italy, so the palace became property by Savoia family.
Pitti Palace houses various museums. I visited the Palatine Gallery; the Royal Apartments the Gallery of Modern Art, the Silver Museum and the Costumes Gallery.
Boboli Gardens were built between XV and XIV centuries. It is situated beyond Palazzo Pitti. This huge green area is the right place to have a pic nic or to have a rest after your visit to the palace.
If you cross the river Arno on Ponte Vecchio, you reach the Palazzo Pitti, the Renaissance palace of the Pittis, the rivals of the Medici family.
Galleria Palatina, one of six museums of the Palazzo Pitti, locates in the right corner of the inner yard, in the left wing of the first floor of the building. For the lovers of Raphael there is a room with more than ten paintings from him, but Caravaggio and Rubens are presented too. However, contrary to the Uffizis displaying of the pictures does not take place in chronological order, but on the basis of decorative point of view, in order to protect the original character of the collection.
But my intention was only, to look one of my favourite paintigs: "L'uomo dagli occhi grigi" (“The grey-eyed man” aka “The Englishman”) by Tiziano. In the bookshop at the entrance I have bought the book of "The Great Masters of Italian Art" with the grey-eyed man on the cover. Then enter the room, and next to the door, on the left, there he is.
It appears strange, because of the exceptionally living depiction of the man, who can be seen on the painting, that we do not know anything from his identity. The researchers put more proposals onto the solution of the secret during the past centuries. There were many of them, who were looking for the model between the leading persons of the age, while others thought of the Duke of Norfolk, but there is nobody, who would have managed to solve the secret of the person, who look at you with his grey eye.
A visit here is highly recommended. You can look around in the open-air museum disguised as a garden, but it costs some more euros.
The Boboli Gardens (Giardino di Boboli) are rich and extravagant pleasure-gardens with large expanses to explore, and photogenic views over Florence. Designed by the Grand Dukes as a venue for extravagant parties and celebrations, the garden is dotted with statuary, fountains and a variety of features commissioned specially, or taken from the fabulous Medici art collections. The Boboli Gardens spread over the steep hillside behind the vast Pitti Palace, over the Arno from central Florence.
This rare green oasis close to the centre of Florence is a great place to relax, picnic and dodge the crowds, especially on a hot day, when the shady walkways and fountains are cool and refreshing. There are plenty of good picnic spots, so visitors may wish to come prepared with food and drink.
Among the highlights are a lake with an ornamental island garden at its centre (just begging to be a banquet venue), a variety of wooded hillside pathways, the central water features in a green amphitheatre facing the palace, and the Neptune Fountain. The grandest of the Boboli's grottos is the spectacular Grotta di Buontalenti: peering through the bars at the entrance you can see three successive 'caves' festooned with decorations, ornamental stalagtites, and sculptures by Michelangelo (now replaced by copies) and Giambologna.
One of the most charming parts of the garden is to be found at the highest level: a little formal garden, laid out on a vantage point with lovely views over vineyards, olive groves and villas. The casino, or summerhouse, up here contains a small museum of porcelain.
The gardens cover a lot of ground. There are entrances through the main Pitti Palace courtyard, on Via Romana, and by the Porta Romana. The gardens lack amenities, but toilets and refreshments (if you haven't brought your own snacks) can be found in the Pitti Palace courtyard. The Kaffeehaus, an attractive 18th-century pavilion in the garden overlooking the Florentine panorama, should be open as a cafe (but hasn't been on our visits).
Full price entry to the Boboli Gardens costs €4, and includes entrance to the Museo degli Argenti and the Museo delle Porcellane (silver and porcelain museums). Like the other state museums, admission is free to EU citizens over 65 and under 18, and reduced for those aged 18-25. There are also various combined tickets available.
palazzo pitti was built in 1457 for the banker luca pitti. this massive palace bankrupted the pitti family and they sold the palace to the medicis in 1550. today the palace houses several art galleries and museums. behind the palazzo are the famous boboli gardens. pictured is the la grotta grande, (grotto) which houses vincenzo de rossi's "paris with helen of troy" and giambologna's "venus bathing"
Palazzo Pitti, probably designed by the great Brunelleschi in 1457, is the most imposing palaces in Firenze. In the 16th century the Medici commissioned Ammannati to enlarge it. It is 205 metres long and 36 metres high, consists of rusticated ashlars with some of the single blocks over two metres long. The only decorative elements, on its almost severe facade, are the two crowned heads of lions.
The palace houses now the Palatine Gallery, Moderh Art Gallery and the Museum of Silveware. Galleria Palatina is the second museum in the city and contains works of art extremely important for the history of art. The visitors can admire the works of Raphael, Filippo Lippi, Tizian, Caravaggio, Rubens and many others.
The Pizzi Palace is a magnificent building, dating back to 1458 and packed full of treasures. It was once the official residence of the Medici family and many of their belongings can still be seen. The vast building now consists of Royal Apartments, a silver museum, a porcelain museum, a costume museum, a carriage museum and two large art galleries.
Then, if you need a break from culture, the gardens of the palace (Boboli Gardens) stretch out behind it and lead up to a terrace, from where you get a magnificent view of the Tuscan countryside. Throughout the gardens are sculptures and fountains and it's a lovely place to be on a sunny day.
You need an entire day to see everything everything.
(There is too much to describe in detail and unfortunately, the official website is in Italian only and seems to be out of date but Wikipedia has a lot of information here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palazzo_Pitti)
The extensive Boboli Gardens climbing the hill behind the Palazzo Pitti are a wonderful retreat on a hot summers day.
At the top of the gardens there are fantastic views over Florence and towards the hills beyond.
This picture is of one of the many statues all around the gardens.
If you have been to my pages before you have probably noticed I'm a fan of merging together photos to make a panoramic picture of a landscape or something like that.
No change here then...! This was taken from the top of the Boboli Gardens looking away from Florence.
A truely beautiful view - don't you think?
To see the picture at its best, please click to open it in a new window - it should look like a panoramic picture!
Boboli Gardens started to take shape in 1591 after the Medici bought Palazzo Pitti. They were modified over the years by different artists and were finally opened to the public in 1766. The main entrace to the gardens is through the courtyard of Palazzo Pitti. We took a path lined with cypress trees and classical statues that opened into a large area with an artificial lake and the Little Island (L'Isolotto). There were numerous statues and flowers around. One can rest on one of the benches around the lake and take in the beauty of the Giardini Boboli.