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, and is good for 3 days so you don't have to cram it all into one.
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 (under "info")
• The palace has a cafe, bookshop and restrooms
• Umbrellas, large bags and backpacks must be checked (free)
• Non-flash photography is now allowed (as of July, 2014)
The website can be a little bit of a pain to figure out but with some clicking about, you'll find what you need.
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. We didn't go into the gardens on this trip since it was January and nothing was really blooming (plus we had other Renaissance art to see!).
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.
The Palazzo Pitti is a vast mainly Renaissance palace. It is situated on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio. The core of the present palazzo dates from 1458 and was originally the town residence of Luca Pitti, an ambitious Florentine banker.
The palace was bought by the Medici family in 1549 and became the chief residence of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It grew as a great treasure house as later generations amassed paintings, plates, jewelry and luxurious possessions.
Full euro 8,50
Reduced euro 4,25
includes entrance to Gallery of Modern Art
Ticket office accepts only cash payments
Open from 8.15 a.m. to 6.50 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday
Days of closure
Closed Mondays, January 1, May 1, and December 25
The Royal Apartments closed every January for maintenance
Built in 1548 by the Pitti palace, it was taken over by the Medici family in 1549 when they became the Dukes of tuscany. The palace today is divided into series of museums the best of which is the Palatine gallery and Royal Apartments.
No doubt one of the more beautiful and wonderful garden in Italy. The garden area is behind the main palace complex and stretches for maybe 2 miles in circular pathes. It has numerous statuary interspersed and a lot of pools, side gardens, and hidden walk paths. There is a Silver Museum, which holds a lot of silver pieces inside the palace that is in 25 rooms. There also is a Porcelain Museum showing many delicate pieces of eating wares, like plates, serving dishes, and many other valuable and beautiful items, some from Meissen, dating back to late 1700's. It is housed in a lovely building called Casino Caviliere, which was a haunt for wealth to wander and enjoy. It is form the 17th century. Cost to the gardens and both museums is Euro 8. The view form the top shows the hills surrounding the Florence city, a great view of the city, and Medici Palace crested on top of a hill.
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.
Luca Pitti commissioned the famed architect Brunelleschi to design this great palace in the 15th century. The wealthy and powerful Medici family bought it and had another architect, Ammannati, enlarge it. He also designed the courtyard. The interior is a collection of museums, including the Palatine Gallery, Silver Museum, Costume Gallery, Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Carriages.
Outside, behind the palace, are the Boboli Gardens. These landscaped gardens rate second only to those of the Villa d'Este in Tivoli in their beauty. Incidentally, this palace and its gardens served as the inspiration for the Palais de Luxembourg in Paris. One of the Medicis had married into the French royal family.
The Pitti Palace, is a vast mainly Renaissance palace in Florence, Italy. It is situated on the south side of the River Arno, walking distance from the Ponte Vecchio. The core of the present palazzo dates from 1458 and was originally the town residence of Luca Pitti, an ambitious Florentine banker. The palace was bought by the Medici family in 1549 and became the chief residence of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It grew as a great treasure house as later generations amassed paintings, plates, jewelry and luxurious possessions.
In the late 18th century, the palazzo was used as a power base by Napoleon, and later served for a brief period as the principal royal palace of the newly united Italy. The palace and its contents were donated to the Italian people by King Victor Emmanuel III in 1919, and then opened to the public as one of Florence's largest art galleries. Today, it houses several minor collections in addition to those of the Medici family, and is fully open to the public.
We visited the Royal Apartments a suite of 14 rooms, formerly used by the Medici family, and lived in by their successors. The rooms have been largely altered since the era of the Medici, most recently in the 19th century. They contain a collection of Medici portraits, many of them by the artist Giusto Sustermans. Furnishings from the period include four-poster beds and objects not found elsewhere in the palazzo. The Kings of Italy last used the Palazzo Pitti in the 1920s. By that time it had already been converted to a museum.
The Boboli Gardens form a famous park in Florence that is home to a distinguished collection of sculptures dating from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, with some Roman antiquities. The views of Florence from the Gardens were spectacular.
The palace dates back to 1458, and was the residence of Luca Pitti, a wealthy banker. The Medici family bought it in 1549, and stayed here for many years. Napoleon used as a residence in the French occupation. In 1919, it was donated to the public for tours by Victor Emmanuel when the Revolution took place. It still is a large monument today. Tours inside are around 6-10 Euro depending on the length and what to see. The gardens are 8 Euro to enter.
Built in 1458 by the Pitti Family and purchased by the medici in 1549, it remained a palce to the Royalty of Florence and Italy through the unification until it was presented to the nation in 1919 by King Victor Emmanuel III.
The palace actually houses several museums. The Palatine Gallery is the core of the collections and contains works by Italian and some foreign artists. The Costume Gallery focuses on costume from the 16th Century through the present. The Royal Apartments feature art and are as they were largely from the 17th to 19th Centuries. There are a couple of less significant museums as well.
Adjacent to the Pitti Palace are the Boboli Gardens. One can find statuary, rose gardens and pleasant paths to stroll, all in a quiet corner of the city, away from the crowds. Seperate tickets are required for the Palatine, the Royal Apartments and Costume Gallery as well as the Boboli Gardens. Advance reservations may be needed during peak season as it can get busy.
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.
Palazzo Pitti was built in the middle of '400 by Luca Fancelli, on demand of Luca Pitti, who wanted to show his power in front of the Family of Medici, building a magnificent Palace.
When the Pitti Family fell in misfortune, Cosimo I de' Medici bought the Palace, in 1549, and Palazzo Pitti became the Medici Family residence.
The Palace was enlarged, on Bartolomeo Ammannati's plan, and has changed until 1600.
The Pitti Palace rises on a big semicircular square. Today it hosts many important Florentine museums, such as: the Palatina Gallery (with Raffaello, Andrea del Sarto, Caravaggio, Bronzino masterpieces and more), the Silver Museum, the Modern Art Gallery and the Customes Gallery.
The Pitti Palace is famous also for its gardens: the Boboli gardens, carried out on 1549 by Bartolomeo Ammannati and, later, by Bernardo Buontalenti, on demand of Cosimo I.Opening Days: From Tuesday to Sunday
Opening Hours: From 8.15 to 18.50
Price: Up to EUR €20,50 per person
Guided Visit - Price per person: Starting from EUR €29 per person
Guided Visit - Price per group: Starting from EUR €270