Wednesday, May 10, 2023

1000 Rooms of Splendor: the Palazzo Pitti

1000 rooms with 1000 ceilings. How did they do it?
It was almost by chance that I ended up touring the Palazzo Pitti. I happened to be in the vicinity and had been notified that it is a vast collection of Renaissance treasures. It is located on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio. The core of the present palazzo dates from 1458. It was originally the residence of Luca Pitti, an ambitious Florentine banker. (Banking evidently has its perks.)

The palace was bought by the Medici family in 1549 and became the chief residence of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Over time it grew as a great treasure house as later generations amassed paintings, plates, jewelry and luxurious possessions. In the late 18th century, the palazzo was used as a power base by Napoleon (before he'd been tapped to become emperor of France) and later served for a brief period as the principal royal palace of the newly united Italy. In 1919, the palace and its contents were donated to the Italian people by King Victor Emmanuel III. It is now the largest museum complex in Florence.

The Pitti Palace has over 1,000 rooms. It's divided into several museums, including the Palatine Gallery, the Modern Art Gallery, the Costume Gallery, the Silver Museum, and the Museum of the Imperial and Royal Apartments. The artwork on all the ceilings alone is mind-numbing. The palace is also home to the Boboli Gardens, which modestly claims to be one of the most beautiful gardens in Florence. (You mean there are other gardens of this caliber in Florence? I can't imagine it.)

What follows are a batch of photos illuminating the variety of treasures here.

Yes, it says Rob Roy on the banner,
a Scotsman from whom I am descended.
I saw numerous paintings with dogs.
Here is a sculpture featuring a boy and his dog.
Even the tables were exquisitely designed with inlaid marble.
Another painting featuring a dog, attempting to save a young boy
from drowning. Is it too late?
Looking out across the courtyard to the Boboli Gardens
The detail in this painting captured my attention for a little bit.
It made me want to know more about the story.

Wow. Just wow.

If you're ever in Florence, Palazzo Pitti is a short walk across the river
from the Uffizi. If you're the kind of person who gets inspired by art,
you really must check it out. And if art is not your thing,
why are you in Florence? Oh, wait. There's history. And architecture.
And food. And splendor. And, oh yes... it's Italy.

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