The Palazzo Vecchio, Florence's City Hall, was originally built to both house and protect the city's dignitaries, which might explain why it looks more like a fortress than a palace. The palazzo was completed in 1322 and almost seven centuries later, it retains at least part of its original purpose since the office of the mayor is still located at Palazzo Vecchio. However, most of the building is now open to the public, including most of the rooms that were remodeled in the 16th century when the palazzo became the residence of Cosimo I de Medici. Giorgio Vasari was put in charge of transforming the palazzo into a suitable royal residence. His remarkable work can first be admired in the "Salone dei Cinquecento", where the walls and ceiling are covered with paintings depicting several of Cosimo I's victories. Vasari also decorated the family's private appartments, often using themes drawn from Greek mythology for inspiration, and several other rooms throughout the palace. My own favourite room was the "Sala dell'Udienza" (Justice Hall), which contains some of the palazzo's oldest works of art (check out my little video!).
Admission to Palazzo Vecchio is 6 Euros and there's no need to book in advance.
Palazzo Vecchio, as it appears today, is the result of at least three successive building stages between the 13th-16th centuries: the last reconstruction was carried out by Vasari, after the coming to power of Cosimo I de' Medici, who moved into the palace with all his family.
Palazzo Vecchio's exclusive role as the political representative of the city gradually lost importance from 1565 for three centuries, being partly replaced by the Uffizi and the new Palace at Pitti. It was to return to its original function as the seat of the City Council in 1872.
Although the palace today contains the offices of the City Council, much of it can still be visited: Hall of the Five Hundred, the little Study of Francesco I and the four monumental apartments: the Quarters of the Elements, the Quarters of Eleonora of Toledo, the Residence of the Priors and the Quarters of Leo X, where the reception rooms of the mayor and the council that governs the city are situated today. The Hall of the Two Hundred is once more being used for the meetings of the City Council and therefore not always open to the public.
The grand staircase by Vasari leads to the Salone dei Cinquecento which contains, among other sculptures, the marble Victory by Michelangelo. Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were originally commissioned to provide fresco decorations for the Salone. On the same floor of the Palazzo is the Studiolo of Francesco I Medici by Vasari, which contains works by Giambologna, Ammannati and other Florentine artists of the late sixteenth century. On the second floor are to be found the Sala dei Gigli, which takes its name from the lilies, symbol of Florence, which decorate its walls and ceiling; the Sala dell'Udienza, built by Benedetto da Maiano; the Cappella della Signoria, with frescoes by Ghirlandaio; the Quartiere di Eleonora di Toledo, built by Vasari; and the Cappella di Eleonora, decorated by Bronzino.
Abstracting the scaffolding.... It is a impressive and interesting building and is the main complex in Piazza della Signoria.
Do you remember the story about the Guelphs and the establishmet of nothing being built on the ground where the Ghibelline properties once exist? For this reason, the Palazzo Vecchio, which faces onto the piazza, is irregularly-shaped and both the main entrance and the tower are somewhat eccentric.
The Palazzo Vecchio was so called to distinguish it from the "new" palace, the Palazzo Pitti, to which the Medici family moved in the sixteenth century.
Today the Palazzo Vecchio is the seat of the municipal government and is only partially open to the public.
As we are going to see in some of the pics to come, Palazzo Vecchio is connected with the Pitti Palace through the Vasari corridor which runs through the Uffizi and over Ponte Vecchio to the other side of the river Arno. The corridor was constructed by Vasari after the Medici family moved into the Pitti Palace.
Formally known as Palazzo Pubblico, Palazzo della Signoria, etc, the Palazzo Vecchio with a high tower of 94 meters has a simple front facing the Piazza della Signoria. However the courtyard and the interior are both absolutely beautiful. Inside you find an art collection with work from several European drawers from the 15th to the 18th century. And the beautiful Piazza della Signoria wouldn’t be the most important place in Florence without the presence of this great Palazzo in the middle.
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).
Palazzo dei Priori is also known as Palazzo Vecchio or Palazzo della Signoria is a parallelipiped-shaped palace, with the top end looking like the crenellated top of a defense tower or wall, and the very nice 94 meters high bell tower. Currently the Palazzo Vecchio is first a great museum but also it still houses (since 1872) the office of the mayor and is the seat of the City Council. The building history of the most important building in Florence takes place during three centuries (13th-16th), starting with the end of the 12th century when Florence decided to build a palace and comissioned Arnolfo di Cambrio to do so. The present palace resulted from three succesive building stages as various architects modifying the exterior and also the interior.
Inside the palace presents itself first with the three courtyards, first one my favourite (check out my second picture), designed in 1453 by Michelozzo. Paying the entrance ticket the visitor will discover a series of rooms, offices and hallways, with impressive painted ceilings and wall frescos.
This is the most important civil building in the city of Florence.
We had two guided tours in Palazzo Vecchio, both of them I would say very interesting.
One it was general and covered general stories about the Palazzo, Florence history and art.
The other one was called Percorsi Segreti and covered places within the Palazzo that until today were inaccessible. Plenty of good fun stories about Cosimo I de' Medici, his son, his wife, stories about Florence, Siena, Pisa.
Completed in 1322 and was Florence's historic town hall. It contained a bell that used to call citizens to a "meeting" or served as a warning. The interior was changed when it was occupied by Duke Cosimo I in 1540. It is said that Michelangelo and Leonardo were asked to help redecorate but the artist Vasari was the one to take up the job. You can also see heraldic shields along the crenelated top. Michelangelo's "David" once stood at the entrance and now a replica is in its place. The Loggia dei Lanzi also houses a few interesting statues of artistic and political value.
Now Florence's town hall, it was initially built almost 700 years ago for the Signoria, the ruling body in Florence at that time. It took a period of roughly 300 years, in three stages, to become the palace you see today.
There are two towers which at one time were used as a holding cell for Cosimo the Elder and Girolamo Savonarola (not at the same time!).
Savonarola was a priest and leader of Florence for 4 years in the late 1400s. He was the author of the original "Bonfire of the Vanities" where he gathered items from the populace that he felt were sinful - cosmetics, irreplaceable artwork, books, sculptures, gaming tables, and the like - and burned them in the center of the Piazza. Ironically he himself was executed (burned in a bonfire) in the same spot a year later... (he ticked off the wrong people for long enough...)
My friend and I didn't want to pay to go inside.; we're not much into museums when we travel together.
But we found out that you can just wander through the courtyard and entrances, without paying anything......and it is well worth doing this.
The courtyard pillars are amazing. They are intricately decorated with cherubs, vinery, leaves, flowers, strange faces, twists and twiddles all set on a golden background. They must have hugely impressed visitors to the Palazzo...such an ostentatious display of wealth. Do spend some time examining them closely, because each face, cherub and pillar is entirely unique,
And a little further on there are two fountains, each with its own pair of stone lions and each lion with a different expression: one grumpy, one fiercely on guard, one bored, one rather bemused.
You can walk right through from Piazza della Signorina into Via dei Leoni; well worthwhile, imo.
Located in the Piazza Della Signoria is the Palazzo Vecchio and in front of it are several statues including a replica of Michelangelo's David.
We waited on line for 45 minutes to enter the Palazzao Vecchio. It turned out that there was one security person that was checking the bags, handbags, etc. of every single person going in. It was insane!!
A former palace, Palazzo Vecchio today contains the offices of the City Council but you can still see apartments, reception rooms, etc. The characteristic feature of Palazzo Vecchio is a tower that rises high above the palace. Inside the palace are more sculptures including one of Hercules and Diomedes in a very interesting position (sorry, the pic didn’t come out!), tapestries, more frescoes, and some beautiful paintings (mostly religious) done on various shapes of wood. What we noted was that in paintings of women they were all depicted as having very muscular arms and legs. It wasn't particularly pretty! But we still enjoyed our visit.
Friday-Wednesday 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Thursday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Admission Charge, Combo ticket with Capella Brancacci available
"Secrets of the Palace" tour tickets available at the main ticket office
Please note that all visitor information is correct as of this writing.
Well i think you can't miss Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria when you come in Florence.I suggest you to arrive from Via dei Calzaioli,'couse the street is not so big and when u'll arrive in the square and se palazzo vecchio,you'll remain breathless.There are statues in the square like Neptunes(we call it"il biancone"),and there is a plaque on the floor of the square.In the point of the plaque was burned Fra Girolamo Savonarola during ancient period