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Pitti Palace


Situated in the first great square in the area that the Florentines call "Diladdarno" - beyond the Arno - Palazzo Pitti dominates uncontested by a small hill at the feet of Boboli. Its construction was commissioned, in the second half of the 15th century, by the banker Luca Bonaccorso Pitti to Filippo Brunelleschi, but the project is presently ascribed to Luca Fancelli who created and began building the first palace outside the walls of the city.

The palace has had a long history of works of construction and of extensions which have lasted about four centuries. The first version of Palazzo Pitti had smaller body dimensions compared to the present one. It consisted of two floors covered with rusticated stone ashlars. The architectural Renaissance style, austere and balanced, was enriched by classical elements from the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders. The following extensions gave the Palace its present appearance. Around 1550 the Grand-Duke Cosimo I de' Medici purchased it to become the residence of the family and in 1558 he commissioned the works of refinement to Bartolomeo Ammannati who included large windows in the façade, called inginocchiate, and created the porticoed courtyard. The construction and the creation of the great garden, named Boboli from the homonymous hill, were commissioned to Niccolò Tribolo.

In 1565 the Grand-Duke wanted the construction of a corridor for the family so they could walk to piazza della Signoria avoiding dangers of attacks. The project was commissioned to Vasari. In 1618 the works continued under the direction of Giulio da Parigi who extended the building with other two buildings with two floors. There were further adjustments in 1640 with Alfonso da Parigi whose direction gave the palace its present length. But what we can admire today is the result of the following changes brought on by the Lorena who completed the façade adding the two lateral "rondò" which stretch the palace towards the square almost wanting to embrace it. It was the Grand-Duke Ferdinando II who had the halls of entertainment of the summertime residence decorated, on the ground floor, and of the winter residence at the first floor for his coming up wedding with Vittoria della Rovere.

Artists of great fame were summoned such as Giovanni da Sangiovanni and Pietro da Cortona whose works contributed to render the palace an absolute royal palace. The last body part added to the building was the palazzina della Meridiana, in neo-classical style, commissioned at the end of the 18th century to Gaspare Maria Paoletti and Pasquale Poccianti by Pietro Leopoldo. Palazzo Pitti, which through time assumed different functions, is today the seat of important museums (Silvers, Chinawares, Costumes, Carriages, Modern Art Gallery, Garden of Boboli) through which it is possible to visit its halls, the displays of the court and the splendour of a faraway epoch which managed to pass down faithful and unchanged through history.


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