On our first full day in Florence, we decided to stroll along the Ponte Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti, the palace that was home to the Medici family from 1549.
And although I read the few pages on the palace in my guidebook, about the art and artictechture held within the palace, I felt prepared for our visit… I wasn’t. I always find myself wonderfully overwhelmed when visiting opulent places like the Palazzo Pitti. (Hint: The guidebooks simply do not do it justice.)
Being the palace of the Medici family, one of the most powerful and wealthy in all of Italy, the Palazzo Pitti needed to display the family’s position in the world. It needed to humble guests, and remind them of who always had the upper hand.
Walking through the palace, this is immediately clear. With rich wall hangings, gold guild everywhere, intricate mosaics, rooms filled with paintings — the Medici family displayed wealth (and in turn power) at every turn.
We spent the morning walking through the apartments, and galleries and at the end of the tour we were greeted to a tapestry room. Now, normally at the end of the tour, I have seen enough beautiful pieces of art and I’m a bit spent. Not with these tapestries.
These tapestries, showcased the Four Elements, date back to 1664 and were originally commissioned to celebrate Louise XIV. The scale, 16 ft x 22ft, the level of detail as well of the age of these tapestries left me literally in awe. Here in front of me, was a grand piece of art intact, that was rich in detail and complexity and 112 years older than the Declaration of Independence.
Simply put, I found myself wonderfully speechless.
Know Before You Go…
- We arrived when Palazzo Pitti first opened, which was perfect timing we didn’t have to wait in lines and the apartments themselves were not too crowded.
- There are a few options for tickets, including the Boboli Gardens, but we opted for seeing just the interior of the palace.
- You can’t bring large or oversized bags through the Palazzo Pitti, but there is a free bag check option.
- There is a lovely cafe onsite, so you can easily visit the apartments in the morning and the gardens in the afternoon.
Have you ever visited Palazzo Pitti? What did you think?