Palazzo Vecchio is one of Florence’s most grand and significant buildings. Generations of the powerful Medici family lived here. They ruled and conducted business from here until the family moved to the Pitti Palace. The Palazzo Vecchio is now a museum, but it still holds the symbol of local government.
Palazzo Vecchio is a very impressive from the outside. There are some beautiful replicas of famous sculptures out front as well.
The Palazzo Vecchio houses the Salone die Cinquecento, a very big public hall built originally for Savarola. Giorgio Varsari expanded it and turned into a great meeting hall for Cosimo Medici. Varsari's design includes one of the first suspended ceilings in the world.
The Palazzo Vecchio is very grand with spacious rooms and beautiful stone staircases. You will find numerous artifacts, artworks, busts, statues, sculptures and tapestries.
As you walk through the rooms enjoy the frescoes, statues and the artwork. I found everything to be top notch. The architectural details including the molding and floors are wonderful. You will notice some of the rooms are devoted to mythical creatures such as Jupiter and the elements of nature.
The Hall of the 500 was especially stunning with the art of Vasarri. The ceilings are amazing. As you continue on the tour, you will see the apartments of Eleanor of Toledo and the nearby Room of Maps. The Sala Dei Gigli on the top floor is also full of art. I think they are all worth a visit. Don’t forget to see the Art of Spinning ceiling, the luxurious Audience Rooms, and the Hall of Lilies. My favorite parts of the tour were the Map room (with the secret door), also the stories of the suspicion of the Medici's and the secret tunnel. Giorgio Vasari made the Vasari corridor, through commission of Cosimo Medici. The tunnel leads from Palazzo Vecchio through the Gallery Ufizzi over the Ponte Vecchio to the Pitti palace.
It is well worth the effort to tour the hidden passages of Palazzo Vecchio. It includes access to the attic over the suspended ceiling. You can see what Varsari designed to hold the ceiling and all the paintings.
The tower in the Palazzo Vecchio is stunning and much easier to ascend than the bell tower at the Duomo. If you choose to take a little break, you can rest in a very comfortable room half way up. It is worth the 200 plus steps to the top. The tower gives incredible views not only of the Duomo but also 360 degrees of what Florence has to offer. It is very captivating. Palazzo Vecchio is not to be missed. It is beautiful to see and it exceeded my expectations.
If you're looking for a nice place to eat with a nice view of the Palazzo Vecchio, then stop by the Caffè Mokarico. Dinner was delicious and afterwards I had some amazing gelato next door. Both places were affordable and offered high quality food.