Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence and former residence of the famous Medici family. It was prominently featured in the movie “Inferno” starring Tom Hanks adapted from Dan Brown’s novel of the same name.
The Medici were defacto ruler of Florence and Tuscany from 14th to 17th century. Their patronage of arts and sciences led to the Renessaince. Consider the following facts to get a better idea of the Medici and Florentine influence in modern civilization.
- Modern Italian language is adopted from Florence
- The greatest Renessaince masters from Donatello to Leonardo, Michelangelo and later Vasari were all financially supported by the Medici.
- International banking and financing practices has it’s roots in Medici bank
- Christopher Columbus expedition to the new world was funded by Seville branch of Medici bank
- Ameriggo Vespucci was a Florentine navigator who first mapped modern North America, the continent named after him
- Gallelio tutored 4 of the Medici kids and initially named Jupiter’s moons after them.
- Machiavelli, the diplomat famous for art of shrewd negotiation, was also from Florence during the Renessaince.
- The poet Dante, whose Inferno shaped the vision of hell, is from Florence. His poem was visualized by Vasari in the roof of Florence Duomo financed by the Medici
- The Medici family produced 4 Pope!
- The Piano was invented at a Medici family music workshop!
Getting to Palazzo Vecchio is a few minutes walk from Florence city center, the historical district . It’s located by the Plaza del Signoria, the historic plaza adorned with sculptures, nice restaurants and shops buzzing with tourists. Cars are not allowed in the city center but it’s very walkable and served by bus and taxi from all over Florence.
Before heading into Palazzo Vecchio, visitors can marvel at the collection of statues at Loggia dei Lanzi. The statues are mostly copies of great masterpieces but the craftsmanship is amazing. Also next to Palazzo Vecchio is the world famous Uffizi Gallery which can take up a few hours to tour. We had dinner at one of the restaurants in Plaza Signoria. Here is a video clip of us exploring Plaza del Signoria.
Exploring Palazzo Vecchio
The entrance to Palazzo Vecchio has 2 imposing statutes including a copy of Michelangelo’s David. Inside the Palazzo, a beautiful courtyard leads to the museums. The first museum is the former residence of the mother of Cozimo de Medici. This connects through a great hall to the main palace rooms and eventually to the grand hall called Salone dei Cinqueciento.
Here, magnificent paintings adorn the roof and the walls with work by Vasari and earlier work by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci (now lost). This connects to the private rooms of the Medici family decorated with grand paintings mostly by Vasari and Boticelli.
Click this Video Tour of Palazzo Vecchio to explore more.