Located in the most important square in Florence, known as the Piazza Della Signoria, the Palazzo Vecchio, also known as the Old Palace.
It is the square’s most characteristic building within, featuring stunning sculptures, a beautiful fountain, and much more!
The History of Palazzo Vecchio
The Florentines began building the palace in 1299, wanting to create a government organisation for the republic, while also showcasing the republic’s power to the people. The architect was known as Arnolfo di Cambio, known for also creating the Duomo of Florence and the church of Santa Croce. However, due to the building being particularly detailed, it took several generations of workers to complete it fully. Within the 16th century, a restructuring took place, ordered by Cosimo I de Medici who turned the building into his permeant residence, becoming the Ducal Palace after its change. Soon, Cosimo I de Medici moved again and went to the Pitti Palace instead, building a corridor between both buildings to help him and officials move easily between the structures. After this, he changed the Ducal Palace’s name into Palazzo Vecchio. Which became a series of government offices and a storage place for valuables.
How to visit the Palazzo Vecchio
The Palazzo Vecchio is truly the symbol of Florence’s civil power for centuries, so simply admiring this building without any other information truly doesn’t showcase its grandeur. Exploring both the square and the building with a guide is recommended, as discovering detail in the building’s architecture, its room purposes, and the history attached to each section
Salone dei Cinquecento
By far the buildings best room is the Salone dei Cinquecento, also known as the Hall of the Five Hundred. It was built in 1494 and is the largest and most important room in the palace. Historically significance and stunning in beauty, the hall stretches out 54 metres in length, 23 metres in width and reaches up 18 metres in height. One of its greatest features is the panelled ceilings and the stunning wall frescoes scattered about. With golden lined decoration and imposing sculptures that enhance the hall’s grandeur further.
One fact that visitors might not know, is that Palazzo Vecchio hides a series of hidden passage within it. Built by the Medici to help them escape from their enemies, as well as to hide valuables. One of the best known is hidden within the Map room, also known as Stanza delle Mappe. The room showcases a map of Armenia, but behind it lies the entrance to the dressing room of Duchess Bianca Capello, who was once the wife of Francesco I.