An extraordinary hoard of paintings is housed in this ex-Medici residence.
Built in 1457 by wealthy banker Luca Pitti and subsequently the preferred residence of the Medici family and Grand Dukes of Lorraine (Florence’s ruling families), the immense Pitti Palace stands as a tribute to the Medici’s obsession for collecting and incorporates several important museums stuffed with displays of painting, clothes, ceramics, jewellery, and carriages. If time is limited, you should prioritise the Galleria Palatina which houses the Grand Dukes’ magnificent hoard of 16th-18th century paintings. The cream of the crop is hung floor to ceiling on damask walls in the five lavishly-decorated rooms known as the ‘Planet Rooms’ whose ceilings were painted with allegorical frescoes by Pietro da Cortona in the 1640s. Look out for Lippi’s 'Madonna and Child', Raphael’s 'Holy Family' or his ‘Madonna della Seggiola’, but there is lots more besides including paintings by Titian, Van Dyke, Rubens, Velazquez, Lippi and Caravaggio.
Also included in the entrance ticket is a visit to the opulent Appartamenti Reali, which were used as state apartments from the 17th century by the Medici and Lorraine grand-dukes and then by the Savoys well into the 20th century.