Palazzo Vecchio is, along with the Cathedral, the other main landmark of the Florentine skyline.
Florence Palazzo Vecchio: a Palace with many names… and a LONG history!
The Renaissance will need one more century to develop, but its seeds are already in Florence.
Florence is, at that time, a medieval commune led by the Signoria, the government constituted by the Priori, expression of the Guilds, or Arti, the Florentine economic oligarchy. The Signoria and the Florence people want for their government a seat worth of the importance and wealth of the city (that wealth that will ignite the Renaissance itself).
Such an important and ambitious project needs a “big name”, the biggest in Florence at the moment: Arnolfo di Cambio, the architect of the Florence Duomo, the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, and of the Santa Croce Church.
The Palazzo has to be a political symbol, then the choice of the place where to build it on as well: in the very place of the Palazzo dei Fanti and Palazzo dell’Esecutore di Giustizia, a Ghibellini family opposed to the new government.
The Palazzo della Signoria was born. Or Palazzo dei Priori as it was their seat. Or, later Palazzo vecchio – the Old Palace – when the Medici will be in charge and Cosimo will move to the “new” Palazzo Pitti, the one with the beautiful Giardino di Boboli.
Arnolfo died in 1301, the works went on until 1314. The impressive tower of the building is a brilliant case of… upcycling: Arnolfo reused the preexisting Torre della Vacca – Cow’s Tower in the new project. Palazzo Vecchio has been reworked for centuries.
The most important and biggest hall – the Salone dei Cinquecento – was designed under the Florentine Republic by Simone del Pollaiolo and Francesco di Domenico between 1495 and 1496.
Palazzo Vecchio today
Nowadays, Palazzo Vecchio is the seat of the Florentine City Council (in Italian is still sounds just like in the Middle Ages: Comune di Firenze!) and it is a museum.
With It’s Florence! you will discover all the secrets of its corridors, dungeons and artworks!