Palazzo Pitti

A vast 15th century palace commissioned by the ambitious Florentine banker Luca Pitti, housing an important collection of Renaissance paintings.

TravelCurious Tip

The gardens are extensive and fairly steep in places, so take some appropriate footwear if you really want to explore them

The Palazzo Pitti is a vast Renaissance palace found on the south side of the River Arno, at the end of Ponte Vecchio. Parts of it date from 1458 when it was the city residence of Luca Pitta, a Florentine banker. Before long, as with most things, it was bought by the Medici family, and over the centuries it has steadily accrued an unrivalled collection of luxuries, from paintings to jewels, from silks to swords.


For a time in the 18th century, it was used as a base by Napoleon, who always had an eye for the grandest spot in town, and at the start of the 20th century, it was donated to the Italian people by King Victor Emmanuel III. To this day it is the largest museum complex in Florence, housing the Palatine Gallery, the Silver Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Costume Gallery, among others.


Corridor of Power

When the Medici family bought the palace they made a couple of changes to suit their tastes: namely more than doubling its size and adding an exclusive corridor linking it to the Palazzo Vecchio via the Uffizi. Known as the Vasari Corridor, this allowed private passage for the Medici family, sparing them from mingling with the masses on the Ponte Vecchio. It is now open to the public.


With Roses Overgrown

The Boboli Gardens are both a sprawling green space in the heart of Florence and an open-air museum. With its ancient oaks, trickling fountains and exquisite sculptures, the Boboli gardens served as inspiration for many European Royal gardens, including Versailles. It’s a perfect place to spend an afternoon drifting around.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Florence
Santo Spirito
This basilica boasts some of the best in Renaissance interior design, courtesy of Brunelleschi.
Oltrarno Neighbourhood
Oltrarno means “beyond the Arno” and is now one of Florence's trendiest neighbourhoods.
Florentine Schiacciata
A traditional Florentine cake that can be found in every local pastry shop around the city.
Palatine Gallery
Housing some of the grandest artworks of Palazzo Pitti, the Palatine Gallery is not to be missed.
Grotta del Buontalenti
The Grotta del Buontalenti is one of the most famous spots in the Boboli Gardens. It was started by Giorgio Vasari, but the work was finished by Bernardo Buontalenti in 1593.
Anfiteatro de Boboli
Originally designed as a garden, the Anfiteatro de Boboli was finished in 1634 and after a performance held in 1739, the Amphitheatre was no longer used for plays.

Related Tours

Palazzo Pitti & Boboli Gardens: Private Half-Day Walking Tour
Explore the beautiful formal grounds of the magnificent Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens; and discover the grand-ducal residence of three ruling dynasties. Filled with artistic treasures by revered maestros such as Titian and Raphael, you’ll learn about the aristocratic lives of the Medici and other noble families who ruled the glittering, bygone era of the Italian Renaissance. 

On your private tour, you will: 

  • Visit the magnificent Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens with your private guide;
  • Marvel at the lavish interior of this vast palazzo and learn about the lives of the grand dukes, duchesses, and their entourages, who inhabited the place for centuries;
  • Discover glorious masterpieces by Titian, Raphael, and Rubens;
  • Learn the compelling backstories of the works of art that adorn the walls together with the history of Anna Maria Luisa de Medici (1667-1743), the Palazzo Pitti’s patron of the arts;
  • Learn about the fascinating history of the building from its construction in the 1400s by the wealthy banker Luca Pitti, to its historic purchase by the Medici in 1550, and how it was later gifted to the Italian people;
  • Explore the highlights of this palatial complex now divided into four museums: the gleaming Treasury of the Grand Dukes, the astonishing luxury of the Imperial and Royal apartments and the Palatine Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art, and the Museum of Costume and Fashion where you can browse the stunning collections of ceramics, costumes and exquisite jewellery;
  • End your tour with a courtly stroll around the majestic grounds of the Boboli Gardens, filled with ancient and Renaissance statues, formal landscape architecture, grottos and architectural follies.

Set on the southern bank of the River Arno, this vast and magnificent Renaissance palace is a grandiose architectural statement of epic proportions, that tells of a rich and grandiose historic past. 

Commissioned in 1446 by Florentine banker Luca Pitti who aspired to live in a building so large it would dwarf all his enemies, the Palazzo Pitti has hosted a trio of noble families over the centuries: the House of Medici, the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, and the kings of Italy, the House of Savoy. Now open to the public, at 32,000 square metres, the palazzo is the largest museum complex in Florence. 

On your tour, you will benefit from your expert guide’s compelling commentary and swerve queues and crowds. You’ll learn about how the Pitti’s rivals, the Medici Family, bought the Palazzo in 1550 and how it became a symbol of the power of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany’s ruling families. Located at the foot of Boboli Hill, the building’s forbidding design features a series of repeated arch-headed apertures reminiscent of a Roman aqueduct. 

In 1919, the palace and its contents were donated by King Victor Emmanuel III to the Italian people - and the gallery’s gilded paintings and priceless artefacts represent one of the most magnificent collections in the world today. Marvel at the 17th-century lavish, gilded interior decor - itself a magnum opus - and enjoy the world-class artistry in the Palatine Gallery, the Silver Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Costume Gallery, the Porcelain Museum and the Museum of Carriages. 

The grand, formal parklands of the historic Boboli Gardens, open to the public since 1766, is a fine example of an early "Italian Garden", and provides a fitting finale to a resplendent tour rich in courtly grandeur.
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