What Is the Pitti Palace?

Jillian O Keeffe
Jillian O Keeffe
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The Pitti Palace is located in Florence, a palace that is more than 500 years old. Although historically it was home to Italian nobles and royalty, in modern times the palace is open to the public and encompasses several museums and art galleries. Extensive gardens are also open to the public, and the palace holds various exhibitions during the year.

Back in the 1400s, the Pitti Palace was begun by a man named Luca Pitti, but it was the middle of the next century when it came into the hands of the Grand Duke Cosimo I de'Medici's family, who added onto the relatively small original building to make an impressive palatial building with a courtyard in front and two extra wings built onto each end of the palace. The Boboli Gardens, which stretch out from behind the building and contain historic examples of fountains and other decorative garden features, also date from that time period. Inside the palace, the decoration primarily dates from the 1600s.

Home to a succession of nobility, and even the King of Italy for some time, the Pitti Palace now houses a variety of cultural treasures from Italy's past. As the building is so large, a few different museums call it home, along with a range of art galleries. Classical art is on display, with paintings and sculptural works in the Gallery of Modern Art, and a Porcelain Museum is also housed in the palace. Works of art by Rubens, Titian and Raphael are some of the paintings that are displayed in the Palatine Gallery on the first floor, and visitors can also walk through the Royal Apartments, where the King of Italy and the Tuscan Grand Dukes lived. Those visitors interested in fashion throughout the ages can also visit the Costume Gallery, which displays Italian clothing from the 16th century onward.

Located in the city of Florence itself, the Pitti Palace is situated directly on the Piazza Pitti. Some of the areas of the palace may be free to enter, such as the Department of Prints and Drawings, but generally, entrance into each gallery or museum requires a specific ticket. A ticket that allows the holder to enter all parts of the palace is also available. The Pitti Palace is open most of the year but may be closed one day a week, typically on a Monday. As well as the regular galleries, the palace also holds special exhibitions throughout the year, and admission to each of these may be by ticket only.

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