on August 8, 2004
Palazzo Pitti is my favorite place in Florence. Yes, the Ufizzi Gallery is great but remember that the Medici family actually envisioned the Ufizzi, the Pitti Palace and linking them to the Vasari corridor as a whole; your pilgrimage to Florence will not be complete without the palace.
I found that here you can easily get in without standing in line for several hours and there are no crowds, which are so typical of the Uffizi Gallery. The paintings are well placed and you can sit down and look at the walls and ceilings; you can really pay attention and not wait for a chain of tour groups to pass through so that you can come up to the painting.
Back to the palace though. In 1549 Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo I, bought the palace from Luca Pitti, a rival of the Medici, whose fortunes began to decline.
Bartolomeo Ammannati took up work on the building in 1560 and converted the two side doors of the facade into elaborate ground-floor windows. Giulio and Alfonso Parigi then copied the doors after 1616 when they enlarged the façade to its present colossal dimensions. Maria de' Medici, Queen of France (1573-1642), used the palace as a model when she had the Luxembourg Palace built in Paris.
Under the Lorraines, architects Giuseppe Ruggeri, Gaspare Maria Paoletti and Pasquale Poccianti, added the Palazzina of the Meridiana and the two wings curving around the square. The wings called Rondòs were added at the end of the 18th C (on the right), and in the 19th C on the left. The various ruling families of Florence continued to occupy the palace, or part of it, until 1919 when the King Victor Emmanue III presented it to the State. Today the apartments have all the original wall coverings, tapestries and furniture.
I was disappointed when I found that the biglietto cumulativo ticket does not exist anymore. (It used to give access to Galleria Palatina, Galleria de Moderna, Galleria de Costume, Museo degli Argenti, Giardino di Bóboli and Museo delle Porcellane.) Now you have to buy separate tickets for each attraction, and they are valid for one day only.
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