The Pitti Palace is the largest museum complex in the city of Florence and one of the most highly regarded museums in all of Europe. Palazzo Pitti, as it is titled in Italian, sits on the south bank of the River Arno. The original building, commissioned by a wealthy Florentine banker named Luca Pitti, dates back to the year 1458. The Palazzo Pitti was later expanded spectacularly by the Medici family, who converted it into the royal residence of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and built on many more chambers and rooms. Today the Pitti Palace Museum and the Boboli Gardens are two of the most alluring and popular attractions in all of Florence.
The history of the Pitti Palace is reason enough to visit this amazing construct. Over the years it was occupied by the ruling families of Florence, including the Medici, Savoys, and Lorraines. It was even used by Napoleon Bonaparte as a central power base in Italy in the latter part of the eighteenth century. The Palazzo Pitti also briefly served as royal palace for the newly united kingdom of Italy. Nowadays, it is the priceless and seeming countless treasures that are contained within the Pitti Palace Museum that draw millions of visitors each and every year to its doors.
The museum itself is divided into several different galleries. The Palatine Gallery is the principal gallery located on the first floor of the museum. It contains over 500 prized Renaissance paintings by legends the likes of Raphael, Titian, and Rubens. Although King Victor Emmanuel III donated the building to the state in 1919 to be used as a public art museum, the space still maintains a decidedly private feel. Many of the rooms in this gallery were decorated by Pietro da Cortona. You have to be there in person to witness the absolute luxuriousness of this one-time royal residence.
The Royal Apartments are another favorite with visitors of the gallery as they go inside the fourteen living chambers of the Medici Family. The elegant appointments and abject opulence will make your head spin. The Gallery of Modern Art was a fabulous addition to the museum and features some of the finest works of art by preeminent artists spanning from 1700 to 1900. This may not sound correct, but it is. In a city with so many centuries-old works of art, that is modern. There are 30 rooms in this gallery that are filled with amazing paintings and sculptures.
The Silver Museum features a wide array of the treasures gathered by the Medici family, including many silver plates and pieces, jewels, and much more. The Porcelain Museum is located in the Casino del Cavaliere in the Boboli Gardens and contains an impressive collection of porcelain items from all over the world, collected by the Grand Duchy. The Costume Gallery and Carriages Museum round out the various galleries contained within the Pitti Palace Museum.
If you are currently planning your itinerary for your trip to Florence, you should strongly consider putting this museum near the top of your list of places to visit. The Pitti Palace in Florence Italy is easily one of the most impressive and historically significant museums in Europe.