Palazzo Pitti is the other half of the impressive display of wealth of the Medici family. And, as for Palazzo Strozzi, a building which, at the beginning of its history, had a different owner.
- (this post) Palazzo Pitti: the Medici’s building which hosted emperors and kings – I
- Palazzo Pitti Museum: host of emperors and kings – II
- Palazzo Pitti “museum of museums”: the Galleria Palatina collection
- Palazzo Pitti IV – Galleria Palatina Masterpieces, Palazzo Pitti
Palazzo Pitti in the beginning: the Pitti family
Meet Luca Pitti, the Medici’s best friends
The original building was commissioned by Luca Pitti (1398 – 1472), an influential banker who was a close friend to Cosimo di Giovanni de’ Medici Il Vecchio (the Elder), the founder of the Medici dynasty (1389 – 1464).
Even if a very loyal friend of Cosimo (Luca even staged a fake coup against Cosimo, to unmask and then banish Cosimo’s real enemies), Luca was quite an ambitious man as well: Palazzo Pitti was a great – pun not intended – way to demonstrate his power and wealth.
We are pretty sure that the building was commissioned in 1458.
The architect can’t be Brunelleschi (the genius of the Cathedral’s dome: the Cupola) as suggested by Vasari, because Brunelleschi died in 1446.
Thus, the Palazzo Pitti’s architect should be Luca Fancelli, a Brunelleschi’s pupil who worked also in Mantua.
What we can definitely be sure about is the fact that Palazzo Pitti was the biggest building in Florence, much bigger that the Medici’s ones.
But a few years later…
From being Palazzo Pitti to be… another Medici’s one
In 1549 Buonaccorso Pitti, a Luca descendant, sold the building to Cosimo de Medici’s (1519 – 1574) wife, Eleanor of Toledo (1522 – 1562).
The Medicis were now one of the most influential families of Europe.
At the time the works of the Corridoio Vasariano start, to connect the Uffizi and Palazzo Pitti.
Meanwhile, the Medicis buy also the Boboli hill, behind the Palazzo, and where the beautiful Boboli Garden will be designed.
In the following four and half centuries many things will happen in and around Palazzo Pitti, on its way to become one of the most interesting – and varied – museums in Florence.
But this is another story: stay tuned for the next post about Palazzo Pitti!