Palazzo Vecchio in Florence: Hidden Treasures

Dec
2012
11

posted by on History & Culture

Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy
 

One of the most famous structures in the beautiful city of Florence is the Palazzo Vecchio, which stands in the historically significant Piazza della Signoria. This incredible place has been the city’s town hall for about 700 years, but this wasn’t its only purpose. The Palazzo Vecchio in Florence is bursting with intrigue, beauty and a long history of hidden secrets.

Palazzo Vecchio Florence Tour Completed in 1302, the exterior architecture of the Palazzo is distinctly medieval, but inside it’s a different story. It was remodelled in 1540 when Duke Cosimo arrived to take residence. During the period in which the famous Medici family inhabited the Palazzo, it was transformed and sumptuously decorated. To say that the Medici were well known and rich would be a severe understatement; this family were among the most powerful families in the entire world. They became Florence’s hereditary rulers, and were known for their love of art. As patrons of great artists such as Leonardo, Raphael and Michaelangelo (to name but a few!) they were responsible for the majority of Florentine art during their reign, and they were at the centre of the Italian Renaissance.

What with this passion for all things arty, they needed somewhere to display all of these incredible masterpieces. The entire palace is filled with frescoes and spectacular works of art. The Salone dei Cinquecento being a particular highlight, with its Michaelangelo masterpiece, Genius of Victory. Each room on the first floor is dedicated to a person from within the family, and frescoes adorn these walls too. The map room, or Sala delle Carta is, unsurprisingly, packed with globes and maps painted on leather. Want to see how the world was drawn out in the 16th century? Have a look here.

But the amount of art and valuable objects that this family managed to acquire exceeded the limits of the palace walls and ceilings, and the Medici, along with other rulers of Florence, used the corridors and passages to store their hidden treasures. In a number of secret chambers and narrow passageways, you can actually discover the hidden world of the Palazzo Vecchio. Some of the paintings can be opened up to reveal a space used to store valuable goods, the subject matter of the painting being a clue to what was hiding inside it.

Until fairly recently these passageways were not accessible to the general public, but now, you can explore the secret chambers, passageways and staircases by taking a guided tour around the hidden passages of the Palazzo Vecchio. One of the many Florence excursions run by Caf Tours, is the secret passages tour. After learning about this incredible family, exploring their secret chambers and admiring the stunning architecture and artwork, you can enjoy a tasty Florentine lunch. As well as all of this, maybe you can pick up some interesting ideas on how to store your valuables…

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