Pitti Palace & Boboli Gardens – this tourexplores the magnificent interiors of Pitti Palace and its famous Boboli Gardens.
According to Vasari, in 1458 Luca Pitti committed to Brunelleschi a ‘Palazzo’ whose windows had to be larger than the front door of Palazzo Medici(designed by Michelozzo), and had to have a courtyard so wide to contain the entire house of his great rivals.
Ironically, when the Pitti, as it happened also to the Strozzi, went into bankruptcy and had to sell it, that the new owner was Eleonora da Toledo, Cosimo I Medici’s wife (1549/1550).
The poor lady was affected by tuberculosis and she hoped that the Oltrarno, much less crowded than the city center, could be a healthier place where to live.
The Palazzo continued to be called with its original name and soon other noble families began to move to the other bank of the Arno and gave a great impulse to the whole area. By 1558 we assist to the first enlargement under the direction of Bartolomeo Ammannati, who’s the ceremonial staircase responsible for the enormous courtyard, which was sometimes flooded to reenact naval battles, and was frequently used for spectacular ceremoniesand weddings.
The orchards behind the house (once belonging to a Borgolo family, thence the name Boboli) were transformed into a magnificent garden by three different architects: Tribolo, Ammannati and Buontalenti. Under Cosimo II the garden was enormously enlarged by architects Giulio and Alfonso Parigi, who designed the path known as ‘Il Viottolone’ towards Porta Romana.
More than a Garden, Boboli can be considered a kaleidoscope of gardens. It is considered to be one of the greatest examples of ‘Italian Garden’ and inspired theatrical directors such as Luchino Visconti and Giorgio Strelher.
Our Pitti Palace & Boboli Gardens tour peruses its most intriguing corners, such as the mysterious Buontalenti Grotto, commissioned in 1583 by Francesco I de’ Medici.
It is a masterpiece or Mannerist style. The three chambers, apparently looking like natural grottoes are replete of alchemic symbols, and mirror the interests and peculiar personality of Francesco I.
It was used by Dan Brown in one of the most dramatic scenes of ‘Inferno’.
Inside Palazzo Pitti there are several museums.
Absolutely not to be missed is the Palatine Gallery.
Don’t miss our Pitti Palace tour: the site is really an absolute ‘must-see’: not just another great museum, it is a very engaging experience to admire some absolute masterpieces of Italian or Flemish art in such a setting!
Paintings that you’ve probably seen hundreds of time in art books, such as the Madonna of the Chair by Raphael, or his self portrait, or also Titian’s Portrait of a Gentleman, confused in a crowd of other paintings, all magnificently framed in gold, set against bright red damasks, and topped by lavishly ornate baroque frescoed ceilings, mostly by Piero da Cortona.
This was the taste of the Lorraine dynasty, that arranged this way the Medici collections in the late 18th century. Peter Leopold of Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany between 1765 and 1790, reordered the enormous patrimony distributing it amongst different museums and, in this case, decorating his own princely residence.
Even Napoleon Bonaparte briefly resided here in the late 18th century and for a short period it was the principal royal palace of the recently united Italy.
The long perspective of impressive rooms, the vibrancy of colors, the opulence of the ceilings, the amazing quality of the great majority of the paintings, furnishings and other arrays can give you the vertigos! It will be our task to put some order, tell you the stories, point out what’s the ‘cream of the cream’, without, of course, taking the magic away from it!
For those who love sophisticated jewels, porcelains, carved ivory, and more….. we’ve included in our Pitti Palace tour a visit to the Silver Museum, just opposite the Palatine Gallery.
Also on display a superb collection of cameos, gold crystal, objects decorated with semiprecious stones, carved ivory pieces, Chinese and Japanese porcelain.
Ladies will start daydreaming in front of the Mario Buccellati collection: It will be hard to take your eyes off the amazing bracelets, rings and brooches dating from 1920’s and the contemporary works by Gianmaria and Paolo Buccellati.
Cost of this tour
This tour lasts three hours and costs 240 euros up to six people (not per person), only private parties.