Pitti Palace: Silver Museum, Palatine and Modern Art Galleries, Royal Apartments and Boboli Gardens

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The Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens

Piazza Pitti 1

This enormous palace is one of Florence's largest architectural monuments. The original palazzo was built for the Pitti family in 1457, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and built by his pupil Luca Fancelli. The original construction consisted of only the middle cube of the present building (the middle seven windows on the top floor). In 1549, the property was sold to the Medicis and became the primary residence of the grand ducal family. The palace was then enlarged and altered; from 1560, Bartolomeo Ammannati designed and added the grandiose courtyard and two lateral wings. Under Cosimo II de' Medici, the layout of the piazza and opening up of the view were begun. The facade then assumed its present appearance, except for the two projecting wings, added by the House of Lorraine in the early 18th century. Behind the palace lie the famous Boboli Gardens.

Today, the Pitti Palace houses some of the most important museums in Florence: on the first floor is the Palatine Gallery, containing a broad collection 16th and 17th century paintings, and the Royal Apartments, containing furnishings from a remodeling done in the 19th century; on the ground floor and mezzanine the Silver Museum (Museo degli Argenti) displaying a vast collection of Medici household treasures; and the Gallery of Modern Art is on the top floor, holding a collection of mostly Tuscan 19th and 20th century paintings. In the separate Palazzina del Cavaliere on the upper slopes of the Boboli Gardens is the Porcelain Museum, while the Palazzina of the Meridiana contains the Costume Gallery, a showcase of the fashions of the past 300 years.

The Palatine Gallery and Royal Apartments

Ticket
Full euro 8,50
Reduced euro 4,25
Includes entrance to Gallery of Modern Art
Opening hours
Open from 8.15 a.m. to 6.50 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday
Days of closure
Closed Mondays, January 1, May 1, and December 25

The Palatine Gallery occupies the whole left wing of the first floor of the Pitti Palace, which was the residence of the Medici Grand Dukes. In 1828, when Tuscany came under the rule of the Lorraine family, the most important paintings in the Palace were hung in the Gallery and opened it to the public. It is an impressive collection comprising works by Raphael, Titian, Correggio, Rubens, Pietro da Cortona and other Italian and European masters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Continue reading about the Palatine Gallery and the Royal Apartments here.

The Gallery of Modern Art

Ticket
Full euro 8,50
Reduced euro 4,25
includes entrance to Palatine Gallery
Opening hours
Open from 8.15 a.m. to 6.50 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday
Days of closure
Closed Mondays, January 1, May 1, and December 25

The Gallery of Modern Art, located on the second floor of the Pitti Palace, has a fine collection of paintings and sculpture, mostly Italian, dating from the late 18th century to World War I. The elegant rooms, which were inhabited by the Lorraine grand dukes, are decorated with works of the neo-classical and romantic periods. There is also a splendid collection of works by artists of the Macchiaioli movement and of other Italian schools of the later 19th and early 20th centuries.

The "Museo degli Argenti" (The Silver Museum)

Ticket
Full euro 7,00
Reduced euro 3,50
combined ticket for Museo degli Argenti, Costume Gallery, Porcelain museum and Bardini Gardens
Opening hours
Open everyday from 8.15 a.m. to 4:30pm (Nov-Feb), 5:30pm (March), 6:30pm (April-May, Sept-Oct) and 7:30pm (June-August)
Last entrance is 30 minutes before closing time.
Days of closure
Closed on the 1st and last Monday of each month, January 1, May 1, and December 25

The Museum houses an extraordinarily rich collection of precious objects, many of which were commissioned by members of the Medici family. The works of art range from Florentine workmanship to other schools and countries and include rock crystal vases and works in pietre dure (semi-precious stones), ivory, gems, cameos, silver, carpets, clocks and chinoiserie.

The Museum is situated in the left wing of the Pitti Palace on the ground floor and in the first mezzanine. The state rooms, which formed part of the grand-ducal summer apartment, are decorated with important 17th-century frescoes by Giovanni da San Giovanni where the theme is the evocation through mythology of Medici history at the time of Lorenzo the Magnificent.

The Porcelain Museum

Ticket
Full euro 7,00
Reduced euro 3,50
combined ticket for Museo degli Argenti, Costume Gallery, Porcelain Museum and Bardini Gardens
Opening hours
Open everyday from 8.15 a.m. to 4:30pm (Nov-Feb), 5:30pm (March), 6:30pm (April-May, Sept-Oct) and 7:30pm (June-August)
Last entrance is 1 hour before closing time.
Days of closure
Closed on the 1st and last Monday of each month, January 1, May 1, and December 25

Until a few years ago, the Porcelain Museum was a section of the Museo degli Argenti and was situated in the mezzanine of the Pitti Palace. In 1973 with the total rearrangement of this complex the collection was transferred to the Casino del Cavaliere at the top of the Boboli gardens' slopes. Built in the 18th century as a retreat for the Grand Duke, the Casino has proved a particularly ideal setting for the conservation and display of a unified collection.

The collection consists mainly of table porcelain used by the Gran Ducal and Royal Houses of the Medici, Lorraine and Savoy. The collection can be described as princely, in that many pieces were made for the grand ducal court or were gifts from other European rulers. The grand dukes made use of the local Florentine manufactory of Doccia for their large services in daily use, which are well represented in the museum.

The Costume Gallery

Ticket
Full euro 7,00
Reduced euro 3,50
combined ticket for Museo degli Argenti, Costume Gallery, Porcelain Museum and Bardini Gardens
Opening hours
Open everyday from 8.15 a.m. to 4:30pm (Nov-Feb), 5:30pm (March), 6:30pm (April-May, Sept-Oct) and 7:30pm (June-August)
Last entrance is 30 minutes before closing time.
Days of closure
Closed on the 1st and last Monday of each month, January 1, May 1, and December 25

The Costume Gallery occupies the 18th century Palazzina della Meridiana, a wing of the Pitti Palace overlooking the Boboli Gardens. The collection comprises six thousand items including costumes dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries, theatre costumes and accessories.

It is the only museum of the history of fashion in Italy and one of the most important in the world. A selection is exhibited in rotation every two years. There are frequent special exhibitions devoted to particular aspects of the collection.

The Boboli Gardens

These gardens comprise the largest monumental green area in Florence. Their history goes back over four centuries, for Cosimo I commissioned the designs from Niccolo Pericoli, known as Tribolo, in 1549. Work was continued by Ammannati, Buontalenti and Parigi the Younger. Noteworthy places are: Buontalenti's Grotto (1583), the Amphitheather with the Roman basin and the Egyptian obelisk at the center, Neptune's Fishpond, the statue of Plenty by Giambologna and Tacca (1563), the Grand Duke's Casino, the Cavalier's Garden, Parigi's Fountain of the Ocean.

Read the article dedicated to the Boboli gardens for more details and photographs.

View our photo gallery of Palazzo Pitti and Boboli GardenView more pics of Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens!»

~Discover Tuscany Team

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