- The history of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence
- What to see and do at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence?
- How to visit Palazzo Vecchio in Florence?
- How do I get to Palazzo Vecchio in Florence?
- Schedules and prices of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence?
- GOOD TO KNOW
You're going to discover Tuscany? Then don't miss the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence!
If you are passing through the beautiful city of Florence, the capital of Tuscany, don't miss the opportunity to visit one of its symbols: the Palazzo Vecchio. Also known as the Old Palace, this monument is located in the city's most emblematic square: Piazza della Signoria.
Its imposing architecture, crowned with battlements and featuring a 94-metre-high tower, is well worth a visit in its own right. If Palazzo Vecchio was the heart of the political life of medieval Florence, it now plays the role of city hall. However, part of it remains open to the public, as the monument contains an important collection of Renaissance artworks.
The works of Michelangelo, Vasari, Donatello and Bronzino are particularly noteworthy. The Torre d'Arnolfo also offers one of the most beautiful views of the city of Florence. It would therefore be a pity to miss it!
Also read :
The 20 must-do things to do in Florence
7 ideas for guided tours in Florence
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The history of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence
The palace was built in 1299 as the seat of the government of Florence. Designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, it was originally called the Palazzo della Signoria because it housed the lordship. However, the monument often changed its name in association with the renovations it underwent. Under Como I it became the Palazzo Ducale, after the latter restructured it as his main residence.
It was only when Como I and the Medici family moved to Palazzo Pitti that the building was renamed Palazzo Vecchio. It then became the seat of the government offices and the place where valuables were kept.
Today, Palazzo Vecchio houses the Florence City Council, but above all it has become a museum where the public can come and admire the magnificent rooms and works of art that bear witness to the history of the city.
What to see and do at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence?
Palazzo Vecchio is one of the most famous symbols of Florence. In fact, it is an important testimony of the past. You can discover many works of art and above all beautiful rooms. One of the first you will come across when you visit Palazzo Vecchio is the "Salone di Cinquecento" ( Hall of the Five Hundred). This 54-metre long and 22-metre wide hall will undoubtedly impress you. Here you can see battle scenes painted from floor to ceiling by Vasari and his followers, to the glory of Florence's victories over its rivals Pisa and Siena.
Then stop at the Chapel of St. Como and St. Damiano. The Salon of the Five Hundred leads directly to this chapel where a triptych is dedicated to the two saints : St. Como on the right and St. Damian on the left.
Don't miss a visit to the Studiolo of Francis I. Located on the first floor, this room is also worth a visit. It was Como I who commissioned Vasari to decorate this sumptuous cabinet which was intended for his son Francis I. The paintings in the lower part hide 20 cupboards where the young man could hide his treasures.
Finally, you can't escape La Torre d'Arnolfo. This 94-metre high tower dominates the Palazoo Vecchio. It was built at the beginning of the 14th century and owes its name to its architect, Arnolfo di Cambio. It was completed in 1453 with the erection of a bell tower, a bronze sphere and the Marzocco (the lion symbol of the city).
From the terrace, the view of Piazza della Signoria and the city is breathtaking. To deserve it you will have to climb 418 steps. Access is limited to 25 people and each visitor has 30 minutes to enjoy it.
How to visit Palazzo Vecchio in Florence?
In addition to the classic tour of the Palace, there are several other tours available to the public. One of the most popular is the "Secret Route". As its name suggests, this route allows you to discover unique places such as thesecret staircase built into the thickness of the southern wall of the palace and many other unsuspected places.
A second route, called "The Secrets of the Inferno", allows you to follow in the footsteps of Dan Brown's best seller: Inferno. Part of the tour takes place in Florence and in particular in the Palazzo Vecchio. You can find the different routes on the website of the Museum of Palazzo Vecchio.
There are also guided tours of the palace, which can be booked by e-mail or by phone. They last about 75 minutes and cost from 2,5€ (for residents of the Municipality) to 5€ (for non-residents). This fee is to be added to the museum entrance fee. It is an excellent way to learn more about the history of this place.
How to get to Palazzo Vecchio in Florence?
If you want to visit the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, it is located in the most important square of the city: Piazza della Signoria. Between Piazza del Duomo and the Arno River, this is where some of the most famous monuments in Florence are concentrated.
To visit Palazzo Vecchio you have to go to Florence. The city is very well served and there are several ways to get there:
- By plane:
The Florence-Peretola airport is located 4 km northwest of the city center of Florence. Air France and Alitalia provide daily rotations from 200€ round trip. As prices are very variable, we recommend that you compare tickets on the website of our partner Skyscanner. From Paris, you will reach the Tuscan capital in about 2 hours. A bus service will take you to Florence in less than 30 minutes.
You may also arrive via the Galileo Galilei airport, located 90km from Florence. It costs about 10€ to reach the city by bus in 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- By train:
You can also reach Florence by train. The main train station is Florence Santa Maria Novella (SMN). More information on the trenitalia website.
- By car :
It's very difficult to get around the cities of Tuscany. Florence is no exception to the rule. If you have decided to rent a car when you arrive at the airport, you should know that the historic centre, and therefore the Palazzo Vecchio district, is entirely pedestrian (except for taxis and residents). You will therefore have to park outside the city centre. Do not hesitate to read our article "Cheap parking in Florence: where to park in Florence? "» .
- By bus or tram :
We advise you to use public transportation to get to Florence and visit Palazzo Vecchio. Many bus companies, such as Eurolines, offer trips to major Italian cities.
A bus network, run by the ATAF company, also allows you to move around Florence. The line 23 has several stops near Palazzo Vecchio, allowing you to get closer to the main monuments of the city. You will also find a minibus service that can easily get around in the narrow streets of Florence.
- On foot :
Please note, however, that if you live in the center, the best way to visit Palazzo Vecchio in Florence is on foot. You can reach the monument from Piazza del Duomo by walking down Via dei Calzaiuoli. It is also an excellent way to visit and discover the city. So take the time to stroll through the small pedestrian streets and let yourself be won over by the charm of Florence.
Schedules and prices of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence?
The Museum of Palazzo Vecchio is open every day, except on December 25th and some public holidays.
It should be noted that the opening hours are different in summer and winter :
- From April to September, the Museum is open from 9 am to 11 pm, except on Thursdays from 9 am to 2 pm.
- From October to March, it is however open from 9am to 7pm, except on Thursdays from 9am to 2pm.
In terms of rates, you'll have to count:
- 12,5€ for an adult entrance to the Museum
- 10€ for people between 18 and 25 years old
To visit the Tower on your own, you will also have to pay the same rates. However, a combined ticket exists for the visit of both: it will cost 17.5€ for adults and 15€ for people between 18 and 25 years old. Admission is free up to the age of 18.