Palazzo Vecchio was built in the thirteenth century and throughout history has been called in several ways : Palazzo dei PrioriPalazzo della SignoriaPalazzo Vecchio. It was designed to accommodate the Priors and the Gonfaloniere of Justice Gonfaloniere di Giustiziathe supreme governing body of Florence, later moved to the Palazzo del Bargello. It was erected on the ruins of a palace that belonged to the Ghibelline Uberti family, expelled from the city in for its political position and remembered by Dante Alighieri in his Divine Comedy.
The magnificence of this building, typically medievalis due in large part to the design of Arnolfo di Cambio. Palazzo Vecchio was built in the style of civil architecture of the timeand with its simplicity and strength embodies the ideals of freedom of the communal Italy. The present appearance of the Palazzo Vecchio is the result of many complex changes that have occurred over the centuries.
The tower is decentralized because the project took advantage of a pre-existing tower. The foundations rest on an ancient Roman theater where excavations are not yet finalized and still reveal unexpected secrets : among other things, the remains of a young boy were found recently in the excavations.
As a center of power in the city of Florence Palazzo Vecchio assumed different functions depending on the historical and political period. It was when Prince Cosimo I moved his residence to the new Palazzo Pittithat Palazzo della Signoria namesake of the Piazza della Signoria in which it is located changed its name to Palazzo Vecchio old palace. Between and Florence was the capital of Italy and Palazzo Vecchio became the seat of government.
Today it houses the seat of Florence town hall and a precious museum. Each room of the Palazzo Vecchio is rich in history and secretssome of these have not yet been resolved. The magnificent Salone dei Cinquecento was commissioned by Girolamo Savonarola in the short period in which held power in Florence before being executed as a heretic in right in Piazza della Signoria. The artistic result of the affair was limited: Leonardo painted a fresco beautiful but very delicate due to the experimental technique used, and Michelangelo never realized his work.
Only evidence that remains of the two masterpieces are the preparatory drawings and stories of the timewho handed down the memory of a battle between two giants of the Italian Renaissance. The present appearance of the Salone dei Cinquecento dates back to the Grand Duke Cosimo Iwho commissioned the decorations to Vasari. The wonderful frescoes that decorate the coffered ceiling, as well as all the decorations of the hall, are rich in symbols and religious references and were intended to exalt the greatness of Cosimo I and the Medici power.
Palazzo Vecchio is an amazing museumfrom its entrance. The set of coats of arms on the facade is a unique testimony of medieval Florence and its balance of power, translated into symbols and references.An error has occurred, please contact the Service Administrator. View Wish List Continue. Find holiday villas in Check In.
Check Out. A city like Florence is old enough and so rich in history that it has to be at least a little bit haunted. If you are to believe the reports, it appears to actually be rather haunted, indeed. From windows left open for a ghost still awaiting her lover to piazzas still haunted by executions that happened long ago, there are many buildings and spaces around the city that are said to be plagued by the dead.
However, there is one ghost that is thought to haunt two different locations in the city. If you feel like going ghost-hunting, just find a luxury villa in Florence and follow him around the city. Once the Palazzo Vecchio closes for the day, all the tourists have filed back out the door in search of dinner, all of the staff returns home and night falls, the sound of footsteps and squeaking in the supposedly empty building is not uncommon.
Baldaccio was a medieval nobleman and brave warrior who was, ultimately, betrayed, wrongly accused of treason and killed inside the Palazzo Vecchio in Stabbed and thrown out a window probably on the orders of Cosimo del Vecchio, it is understandable how is spirit might be holding a grudge. He is now thought to linger in the place where he met his untimely end and haunts the building, appearing as an irate man. He can also be seen in the Castello dei Sorci of Anghiari, his birthplace, on September 6.
There are also many rules to be respected, should you find yourself in either building after dark: you should not scream his name, name him without a reason, must speak with respect and indulgence and always in a low voice. The most famous sighting of Baldaccio dates to when a young couple celebrating their anniversary were taking photos outside the Palazzo Vecchio.
The next day, while uploading the photos to their computer, they found something unexpected and decidedly unromantic, the translucent face of an irate, ghostly man staring out the window of the building.
The couple sent the photo to be analysed by experts, who could find no trick and declared it to be genuine. People were quick to say this was the famous ghost that is said to haunt the building but no one really knows what caused this strange effect in the photograph.
Weird and creepy, it is just one more thing that makes Florence one of the most wonderful and fascinating places in the world to visit.Palazzo Vecchioalso called Palazzo della Signoriamost important historic government building in Florencehaving been the seat of the Signoria of the Florentine Republic in the 14th century and then the government centre of the Medici grand dukes of Tuscany.
From to it housed the Chamber of Deputies of the Kingdom of Italyand since it has been the town hall.
It was constructed between and and had additions by Giorgio Vasari and Buontalenti in the late 16th century. The former completely reorganized and redecorated much of the interior. Palazzo Vecchio. Article Media. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback.
Thank you for your feedback. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree See Article History.
Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. It housed the legislative and executive branches of the local civic government the priors and even today functions as the town hall of Florence. Always a kind of nerve centre of local pride…. Arnolfo di Cambio, Italian sculptor and architect whose works embody the transition between the late Gothic and Renaissance architectural sensibilities. Arnolfo studied painting under Cimabue and sculpture under Nicola Pisano. He served as assistant to Pisano in —68 in the production of the….
History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Dayevery day in your inbox! Email address. By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Notice. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox.
More About.This palace was constructed to provide a secluded environment where the men could work in isolation.
The Palazzo Vecchio Museum and Tower
For what's insidesee Palazzo Vecchio Museum. Eventually, however, Cosimo moved the family to Pitti Palace and the Palazzo went back to being mostly just government offices. Initially the palace was named ' Palazzo dei Priori ', as ' priori ' was the name of the guild members who served the two month terms of office.
Today, the name of Signoria has remained as the name of the square where the building is located, Piazza Signoria. The rest of the building is a museum dedicated to the history of the Republic of Florence and the use of the palace as a ducal residence by the Medici.
Looking at the front of Palazzo Vecchio just under the crenellated parapet is a series of coats of arms. The following seven coats of arms represent different aspects of the city's past s uch as historic eventsideals promoted by the republic or important alliances established with other territories or influential figures:.
This inscription goes back to the Florentine government of Savonarolathe religious zealot who saw Jesus as being the sole 'leader' of the republic circa An area inside houses what is jokingly referred to as the ' alberghetto ', literally 'small hotel'.
The city's first public time-teller, the original clock was installed in today you see a replacement dated about Michelangelo happened to be present as the man was being accompanied through Florence to meet his cruel fate, and the great artist decided to immortalize him on the spot. By painting the walls of her new home with scenes of Austrian citieswhich is what these not very well preserved frescoes represent!
Two examples include the city hall building of the German city of Furth circa and Mackenzie Castle in the Italian city of Genoa circa If you like the content of this page, please share! Click the button below. Tourist Information Florence Italy. Florence Restaurants. Tours of Florence Italy. Great News Photo taking is now allowed in Florence Museums! Comments Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below. Bank rates source: Exchange Rates.It overlooks the Piazza della Signoriawhich holds a copy of Michelangelo 's David statue, and the gallery of statues in the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi.
Originally called the Palazzo della Signoriaafter the Signoria of Florencethe ruling body of the Republic of Florencethis building was also known by several other names: Palazzo del PopoloPalazzo dei Prioriand Palazzo Ducalein accordance with the varying use of the palace during its long history.
The building acquired its current name when the Medici duke's residence was moved across the Arno River to the Palazzo Pitti.
Inthe commune and people of Florence decided to build a palace that would be worthy of the city's importance, and that would be more secure and defensible in times of turbulence for the magistrates of the commune. Giovanni Villani — wrote in his Nuova Cronica that the Uberti were "rebels of Florence and Ghibellines ", stating that the palazzo was built to ensure that the Uberti family homes would never be rebuilt on the same location.
The cubical building is made of solid rusticated stonework, with two rows of two-lighted Gothic windows, each with a trefoil arch. In the 15th century, Michelozzo Michelozzi added decorative bas-reliefs of the cross and the Florentine lily in the spandrels between the trefoils. The building is crowned with projecting crenellated battlementsupported by small arches and corbels. Under the arches are a repeated series of nine painted coats of arms of the Florentine republic.
Some of these arches can be used as embrasures spiombati for dropping heated liquids or rocks on invaders. The solid, massive building is enhanced by the simple tower with its clock.
Giovanni Villani wrote that Arnolfo di Cambio incorporated the ancient tower of the Foraboschi family the tower then known as "La Vacca" or "The Cow" into the new tower's facade as its substructure;  this is why the rectangular tower height 94 m is not directly centered in the building. This tower contains two small cells, that, at different times, imprisoned Cosimo de' Medici the Elder and Girolamo Savonarola The tower is named after its designer Torre d'Arnolfo.
Duke Cosimo I de' Medici later to become grand duke moved his official seat from the Medici palazzo in via Larga to the Palazzo della Signoria in Maysignalling the security of Medici power in Florence. Cosimo I also moved the seat of government to the Uffizi. The palace gained new importance as the seat of united Italy's provisional government from —71, at a moment when Florence had become the temporary capital of the Kingdom of Italy.
Although most of the Palazzo Vecchio is now a museumit remains as the symbol and center of local government; since it has housed the office of the mayor of Florence, and it is the seat of the City Council. The tower currently has three bells; the oldest was cast in the 13th century. Above the front entrance door, there is a notable ornamental marble frontispiecedating from Ask the Tuscany Experts on our Forum. Book your Tour. Buy Museum Tickets. Book your Restaurant.
Is time travel possible? At Palazzo Vecchio it is, with a trip back into history to three eras. Palazzo Vecchio offers Roman ruinsa Medieval fortress and amazing Renaissance chambers and paintings. A microcosm where art and history have been indissolubly bound for centuries. Palazzo Vecchio is the main symbol of civil power for the city of Florence, whose original project is attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio.
Construction on the solid fortress began in above the ruins of the destroyed Uberti Ghibelline towers, testimony of the final victory of the Guelph faction. The entire construction also rests on top of the ancient theater of the Roman colony of Florentia dating back to the first century A. This area can be visited with a separate ticket, 4 Euro or a combination ticket which includes the Palazzo Vecchio Museum and the Archaeological site. The area is suggestive organized with information and an interesting film to help you understand exactly what you are looking at underground.
Click to view larger map. From the very beginning, the main section of Palazzo Vecchio was destined to host the city council which was composed of chief members the Guilds of Florence the Priori who governed the Republic of Florence. Inthe Duke of Athens, Walter VI of Brienne, enlarged Palazzo della Signoria towards Via della Ninna, giving it the appearance of a fortress and even adding a secret staircase for nightly exits.
The severe medieval architecture conceals sumptuous halls and residential apartments. The Hall is the largest and most important room in terms of artistic and historical value inside the palace.
This impressive hall has a length of 54 meters, a width of 23 and a height of 18 meters. Paneled ceilings and large wall frescoes, golden decorations and imposing sculptures will leave you admiring in marvel.
Salone dei Cinquecento. Pier Soderiniwho was appointed gonfaloniere for life, selected the two greatest Florentine artists of the time, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarrotifor the construction of two large murals to decorate the walls of the room, with battle scenes depicting victories of the Republic.
Leonardo began to paint the Battle of Anghiariwhile Michelangelo used another portion of the wall for the Battle of Cascina. The two geniuses of the Renaissance would have an opportunity to work for a certain period of time face to face, but none of their work was ever completed. The court of the Medici was transferred to Palazzo Vecchio from Palazzo Medici-Riccardiwhich was transformed into a fascinating labyrinth of institutional chambers, apartments, terraces and courtyards.
All the rooms the so-called Quartieri Monumentali are magnificently decorated by artists such as Michelangelo, Giorgio Vasari and Donatello. The Studiolo that belonged to Francesco I.Written by Soudip.
It is connected by an enclosed passageway, known as the Vasari Corridor with the Palazzo Pitti. The palace was called by several other names like Palazzo del Popolo, Palazzo dei Priori, and Palazzo Ducale in conformity with its usage during its long history. Architect Arnolfo di Cambio designed the original palace. Later additions were made in the 15th century by architect Michelozzo Michelozzi.
At that time Florence became the temporary capital of the Kingdom of Italy. Although most of the palace now serves as a museum, it was the seat of the local government as since the office of the mayor of Florence was located in the palace.
Palazzo Vecchio in Florence Italy
The cubical structure is built with solid rusticated stonework comprising two rows of two-lighted Gothic windows each having a trefoil arch. The building is capped with projecting battlement supported by small arches and corbels. The huge building is augmented by the tower with its clock.
The top of the front entrance door consists of an embellished marble frontispiece dating from The Monogram of Christ lies in the middle flanked by two gilded lions. It was designed by Michelozzo in comprises of the crests of the church and city guilds. It also contains the porphyry fountain by Battista del Tadda.
A copy of the original Putto with Dolphin statue by Andrea del Verrocchio is on display on the second floor.
Numerous frescoes of Austrian cities painted by Giorgio Vasari in adorned the walls. Gilt stuccoes decorate the columns. This happens to be the most impressive chamber is 52 m long and 23 m broad. It was built by Simone del Pollaiolo in commissioned by Savonarola who became the spiritual leader of the Republic of Florence, replacing the Medici family after their exile, wished to make it a hub of the Grand Council comprising of five hundred members.
Later, the hall was expanded by Giorgio Vasari. The surviving decorations by Giorgio Vasari and his helpers mark the pinnacle of mannerism which transformed the hall into the showpiece of the palace. The hall houses the Udienza or the raised stage built by Bartolommeo Bandinelli for Cosimo I to meet citizens and ambassadors. It is a small room without windows situated at the end of the hall.
Who is the mystery man on the wall of Palazzo Vecchio?
The room houses many masterpiece paintings, stucco and sculptures. The room houses a Madonna and Child and an ebony cabinet known as stipo. Also, the tapestries depict stories of Hercules. Cosimo the Elder used to keep a menagerie of lions in an exclusive house in the palace.
During big festivals, in front of dignitaries, he often fought them or pitted them against other animals.