Palazzo Vecchio History & Architecture
Florence is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It is home to numerous landmarks, renowned for their rich history and architecture. One such is the Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall of the city. As a symbol of Florence’s political affluence for several centuries, the Palazzo Vecchio forms an integral part of the city. If you are looking to visit the Palazzo Vecchio, read on to know more about this monument.
Palazzo Vecchio At A Glance
- The Palazzo Vecchio was constructed between 1299 and 1314, with some additions later in the 16th Century
- It was constructed by Arnolfo di Cambio, the architect who also designed the iconic Florence Duomo
- Once home to the government organizations under the republic, it has served as the office of the Mayor of Florence since 1872; today it is also a museum
- The Palazzo Vecchio features a 94-meter-tall tower with battlements atop the walls
- The Hall of Five Hundred is one of the most important rooms here
- The Palazzo Vecchio includes three massive courtyards, two floors, and a mezzanine filled with objects from the Medieval and Renaissance periods
A Detailed Look At The Palazzo Vecchio
The Palazzo Vecchio is the official town hall of the city of Florence. It overlooks the Piazza della Signoria square and is one of the most important landmarks of the city. Here’s essential information about its history and architecture.
The Palazzo Vecchio was originally built as a palace, and also served as an impregnable fort during turbulent times. Construction began in 1299, and was completed in 1314. The palace was originally built by the renowned architect Arnolfo di Cambio. From 1865 to 1871, the palace gained much more importance, and became the seat of power in Italy when Florence was named the temporary capital. Since 1872, the Palazzo Vecchio has served as the office of the Mayor of Florence and also the City Council.
The old palace, built between 1299 and 1314 was in the Romanesque style, with elements of Gothic architecture identifiable in the windows and sculptures. In 1330, the front of the palace was paved with artistic masonry and bricks, in order to make it more appealing. Some later additions to the Palazzo Vecchio include the Fountain of Neptune located beside the palace, which was commissioned in 1565. The front of the palace is lined with numerous statues, including a copy of Michelangelo’s David, Adam and Eve, and Hercules and Cacus created by Bandinelli.
Things to See
The Hall of Five Hundred is one of the most popular attractions within the palace and is a must-see for anyone visiting the Palazzo Vecchio. The fountain of Neptune, Loggia dei Lanzi, and the statue of Cosimo I are additional sights you shouldn’t miss. The palace also contains numerous hidden passages that were used by the Medici to store valuable items or escape during sieges. Within the interiors, also look out for the Apartments of the Priori, Michelozzo’s Courtyard and the stunning frescoes.