Wanted by Luca Pitti to challenge the hated Medici family, Palazzo Pitti was, at the time of construction around 1440, the largest and most impressive private residence in the city of Florence.
Pitti Palace later became the official residence of the family of the Medici, Grand Dukes of Tuscany.
In successive historical epochs, the Pitti Palace became the residence of the Lorraine family and then the Savoia family until 1871.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Pitti Palace was also the residence of the Bourbon-Parma family and then of Elisa Bonaparte, who ruled over Tuscany for a short period.
According to tradition, Filippo Brunelleschi would have designed the building, but this theory lacks historical evidence.
According to the official version, Luca Fancelli, a collaborator of Brunelleschi, was actually the architect of the Palazzo Pitti.
The building has a severe aspect, built with huge, heavy, and rustic stone blocks, the effect of which was perhaps inspired by ancient Etruscan walls.
The technique used to construct the building is similar to that used for other Florentine palaces: large stones at the base and finer and more refined stones at the top.
In the lower part of the façade are two seemingly strange hewn stones: a long one and a short one.
According to legend, it was Luca Pitti who wanted to fix the stones next to each other to symbolize his greatness over the smallness of his enemies.
For the same desire to compete with the powerful Florentine families, tradition says that Luca Pitti had ordered that a courtyard be built. It had to be so big that it would have been able to conten Palazzo Strozzi.
The stones mentioned above are located to the left of the main entrance facing the façade.
The desire to compete with the Medici family and the unfortunate political fate of Luca Pitti, however, soon caused the economic ruin of the Pitti family and the consequent interruption of work at the Palazzo Pitti in 1464.
The Medici bought the palace and went to live there in the mid-1500s.
Eleanor of Toledo enlarged the building that increasingly began to look like a veritable palace.
The beautiful Ammannati interior courtyard was largely built between 1558 and 1577, with the monumental steps that were very popular in European courts.
During the same period, Niccolò di Raffaello, known as Tribolo, had already outlined the Boboli Gardens, whose arrangement was continued by Ammannati and Buontalenti.
Cosimo I and, later, Ferdinand II wanted to create a gallery of works of art in the palace, so additional work was necessary.
Ferdinand II entrusted Pietro da Cortona with the task of decorating a few rooms of the palace.
The frescoes he painted became famous throughout Europe: they were inspired by free imagination and innovation.
Scenes of mythology, nature, and symbolism are represented in a lavish and festive way, decorated with stucco and bright colors.
Today, Palazzo Pitti is a great example of innovative Renaissance architecture and also houses several important museums.
The Boboli Gardens can be considered an open-air museum in their own right, as they are one of the most important examples of Italian gardens in the world.
As we well know, thanks to Dan Brown’s Inferno, Giorgio Vasari built the famous Vasari Corridor in 1565. Even today, this structure connects Palazzo Pitti with Palazzo Vecchio through the Uffizi Gallery.
“The Vasari Corridor,” the guide announced. “It’s nearly one kilometer long and provided the Medici family with a secure passageway between the Pitti Palace and the Palazzo Vecchio.”
Pictures by Wikimedia and Avital Pinnick