Discover the first Medici palace, workplace of artists of the calibre of Donatello, Michelangelo and Botticelli
One of the main places to see in Florence is the Palazzo Medici Riccardi which used to be the dwelling of the Medici family who ruled the city and the Tuscany region between the 15th and the 17th century. Here is all you need to know about this historical palace of the Renaissance.
Situated in the heart of the city center, a few steps away from the Duomo, the Palazzo, which is now a museum, is one of the most visited sites of Florence. The Palazzo Medici Riccardi was first commissioned in 1444 by Cosimo the Elder to serve as the family residence and it was designed by thearchitect Michelozzo. This palace represents a model of the Renaissance architecture.
The tour of the site begins in the courtyard of Michelozzo which was realized between 1444 and 1452. The impressive courtyard is characterized by classic Renaissance elements with the numerous sculptures, especially the Orpheus statue realized by the sculptor Baccio Bandinelli.
Moving on, the visitors can then admire the Medici Garden, an important place for the private life of the family. The garden reflects the sumptuousness of the palace with the stucco ornaments, the sculptures and the fountain.
Inside the palace, the tour starts with a true jewel of architecture: the Magi Chapel. The private chapel of the Medici family was realized by the Florentine artist Benozzo Gozzoli in 1459 who covered the walls with religious and historical paintings.
Beyond the chapel, the visit continues through the luxurious rooms of the dwelling where the original furniture and the tapestries still occupy the palace, allowing the visitors to picture the life of the past residents.
A series of portraits of the Medici family is also on display inside the palace. You can admire the portrait of Cosimo III de Medici, who was Grand Duke of Tuscany in the 17th century and the portrait of his successor, Gian Gastone de Medici who became Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1723. The Palazzo Medici Riccardi hosts one of the late works of the famous Florentine painter Filippo Lippi, the painting entitled Madonna with child.
The tour comes to an end with the most luxurious room of the palace: the Gallery Luca Giordano. This decorative room takes the name of the Neapolitan artist who realized it in the 80’s of the 17th century. The baroque fresco he painted on the ceiling, the Apotheosis of the Medicis, is one of the most important frescos of the Italian baroque period. And the sumptuous mirrors on the walls with the cherubs, animal and plants motifs make it a masterpiece of the Florentine Baroque art.
Nowadays, The Palazzo Medici Riccardi is not just a museum, it is actually the head office of the Metropolitan City of Florence and operates with the Prefecture and the Historical Institute of the Resistance in Tuscany. In addition to the museum, the palace also hosts temporary exhibitions.
Everyday 9am-7pm – Closed on Wednesday
Museum + Temporary exhibition
€10 – €6
Via Cavour, 1, Florence
Ticket Office: +39 055 2760552