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Visit the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence

One of the symbols of the city, it is also one of the most beautiful and visited buildings in Florence. Stay with us and learn all about this incredible attraction in Florence, including the changing guard ceremony.

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Visit the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence

Palazzo Vecchio is one of the most beautiful buildings in Florence. It started to be built in 1299 and is one of the landmarks of the city. Despite having undergone several renovations, the building presents the history of Florence in a poetic, simple and detailed way, without losing the charm and beauty that have always been present. Discover the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence and learn here about all the details to visit this beautiful attraction in Florence.  Find out here How many days do I need to visit Italy? Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”

A little bit of the History of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence

The Palazzo Vecchio was built, initially, to be the seat of the city’s Court of Justice. It was built on the ruins of an old palace belonging to the Uberti family, which was expelled from the city in 1266 because of its political position (they were ghibellines) that was against city rulers. The family was remembered by Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy.

The opposition between guelphs and ghibellines inflamed Florentine politics in the time of Dante and is also present in the architectural elements of the palace: the gallery has a wall called “guelph”: it is square, and the tower has a ghibelline wall, with a swallowtail. The grandeur of this typically medieval building is due in large part to the project by Arnolfo di Cambio. The priority was to present a rich internal architecture and part of the work was assigned to Giorgio Vasari, who also designed the Salone dei Cinquecento, the Studiolo by Francesco I, the Eleonora district and the Quartiere degli Elementi. In the architectural style of the time, Palazzo Vecchio embodies the ideals of freedom that Italy sought: simplicity and solidity. Also read How to get to Florence from Rome? and How to get to Pisa from Florence?

Reforms and Projects

Having undergone several renovations over the centuries, what we see today is a splendid Palazzo Vecchio, full of elegance. The peculiarity of the decentralized tower was purposeful: the project was to explore the pre-existing tower while its foundations are on an ancient Roman theater, whose excavations have not yet been completed and still reveal unexpected secrets like human bones. Palazzo Vecchio assumed different functions, depending on the historical and political period. In the mid-1500s, it was the home of Cosimo I de Medici who, taking advantage of the collaboration of artists like Vasari and Buontalenti, expanded the building to double its size. Between 1865 and 1871, Florence was the capital of Italy and Palazzo Vecchio was the seat of the Italian government. Today the palace houses several works of art and the city hall. Also read How to visit Florence in a day?

1) Visit the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence – VISITING THE FIRST FLOOR

To start the visit, we depart from Quartieri Monumentali: rooms on the first floor decorated to celebrate the Medici family. With all the pomp of the Halls dedicated to Leone X, Cosimo il Vecchio, Lorenzo the Magnificent, Cosimo I, Giovanni dalle Bande Nere and Clemente VII, it is all full of very elegant details. The grand Salone dei Cinquecento, was entirely frescoed by Michelangelo and Leonardo and was designed to host the 16th century Council meetings. The room was also mentioned by Dan Brown in his bestseller ‘Hell’, which takes place in Florence. We are facing ‘immortal’ creations: works by Vasari, sculptures by De Rossi – dedicated to the Twelve Works of Hercules – and the Statue of Victory, by Michelangelo, like so many others. On the first floor there is a small jewel: the Studiolo by Francesco I, a treasure chest of Mannerist art, where the prince kept his treasures. Also read Visiting the Uffizi Gallery in Florence? and visit the Accademia Gallery in Florence?

2) Visit the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence – VISITING THE SECOND FLOOR

On the second floor are Terrazza di Saturno, the Quartiere degli Elementi and the Eleonora di Toledo room, with a small chapel next to it. Be sure to ‘look up’: the rich ceilings of Sala dell’Udienza and that of Gigli are impressive. And last but not least: the Hall of Geographical Maps, with a beautiful collection of globes and 57 maps printed on leather, a symbol of knowledge during the 16th century.

3) Visit the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence – STAY TUNED TO THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD

Palazzo Vecchio also has its Changing Guard Ceremony. Between 1529 and 1530, when Charles V wanted to bring Medici back to the city, he surrounded Florence with the civilian army, formed by the citizens of Florence. Palazzo Vecchio was protected by a military group from the Army of the Florentine Republic: they were the Fanti di Palazzo, which were replaced by several other military groups.

The guard changing ceremony takes place on the first Sunday of each month, at 9:00 am, 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm. The changing of the guard occurs as follows: the Gonfalone of Florence, or the Historical Procession of the Florentine Republic, is positioned in the middle of the Arengario; two armed soldiers stand on the sides as the Symbol of the Citizen’s Guard and the Palace of Power, the Captain and one officer complete the guard. The ceremony, of course, is scenographic, but of great significance to the citizens. The ceremony is marked by the imperial roll of Tamburini and the movements synchronized as was the military custom of the time.

Curiosities

  • To the left of the access ramp to Palazzo Vecchio, in addition to the group of sculptures by Hercules and Caco, it is possible to see the face of a man in profile, made in a not very defined way. Legend has it that the author of the image is Michelangelo and, to complete the mystery, there are several theories of who the man in the painting was: either he was a person condemned to death or a debtor who irritated Michelangelo. The fact is: not everyone had the honor of being chosen to sculpt or paint any work in this important building. In the hall of Hercules, there is an image of Our Lady that no one knows for sure who the work belongs to. They call her Our Lady of the UFO, because it is possible to see, in the background, an unidentified flying object. The image is a bit “nebulous”: painted with a lot of gray and golden rays to which two characters in the background look. It represents one of the oldest iconographic sources mentioned in the field of ufology and, as already mentioned, no one knows whose it really is.
  • Another curiosity: the Palace is not symmetrical! On the left side of the building there are 3 rows of windows, while on the other there are not. This can be explained because, on the one hand, several houses were demolished for the expansion of the Palace, but on the side of Uffizi there was no space or how to demolish the neighboring building, since it was a church, however, even after its demolition, there was no space to make the palace symmetrical.

Useful information about visiting the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence

Now stay tuned for useful information about Palazzo Vechio.

  • Location
  • Located in Piazza della Signoria, in the Tuscan capital.
  • Address: Piazza della Signoria, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
  • Phone: +39 055 276 8325
  • Website: learn more here!

Guided tour of Palazzo Vecchio

Click here and buy your ticket through an English language website!

Schedules and other additional information

Information for the Palazzo Vecchio Museum and the Archaeological Route. (archeological excursion: not available for children under 8).

From October to March
  • Every day, except Thursday: 9:00 am – 07:00 pm (Thursday: 9:00 am – 02:00 pm)
  • All Saints and Immaculate Bridges: 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm
  • December 24th and 31st: 9:00 am – 07:00 pm
  • December 26th-30th: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
  • January 1st: 02:00 pm – 07:00 pm
  • January 2nd to 6th: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
  • March 25th: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
From April to September
  • Every day, except Thursday: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm (Thursday: 9:00 am – 02:00 pm)
  • April 25th, May 1st, June 2nd, August 15th: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
Information for Torre Ronda and the Footbridge

(not accessible to children under 6 – children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult) Access to the Tower is suspended in case of rain: the visit ends at the footbridge.

From October to March
  • Every day, except on Thursday: 10:00 am – 05:00 pm
  • Thursday: 10:00 am – 02:00 pm
From April to September
  • Every day, except Thursday: 9:00 am – 09:00 pm
  • Thursday: 9:00 am – 02:00 pm
Information for the Mezzanine and Loeser Donation
  • Every day, except Thursday: 9:00 am – 07:00 pm
  • Thursday: 9:00 am – 02:00 pm

Important Note

The ticket office closes an hour before the museum. For autonomous visits (even groups), reservation is not necessary. With the purchase of the ticket online, it is possible to directly access the routes of the museum without going to the ticket office. For the climb to the tower, it will be possible to see brief waits on the third floor, as the maximum agglomeration limit is 25 people at a time. The museum is closed on December 25th.

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Hotels I recommend in the Historic Center

In the Historic Center (Old Town), is really easy to admire all the main attractions of the city very easily. The old town of Florence corresponds to the oldest and most beautiful part of the city. If you want to stay in the real heart of Florence, choose hotels in the central areas of Piazza Santa Croce, Ponte Vecchio, Cathedral, Gallery of Offices, etc.

If you want some indications of hostels (or B&B) and apartments, I have some options that I suggest if you want to save money; click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion, make your reservation and guarantee good prices!

If you prefer hotels, I have some options that I recommend with great cost benefit! Click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion, make your reservation and guarantee good prices.

Hotels that I recommend in Oltrarno

Always staying very close to the Historic Center, you can also stay in Oltrarno, close to the most characteristic craft shops in the whole city and much more. The area is perfect for those who want quiet accommodation and for those who want to breathe the real Florentine atmosphere. At the same time, you will be close to the center of Florence, a short walk from the main monuments, squares, churches, restaurants, shops and museums.

If you want some indications of hostels (or B&B) and apartments, I have some options that I suggest if you want to save money; click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion, make your reservation and guarantee good prices!

If you prefer hotels, I have some options that I recommend with great cost benefit! Click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion, make your reservation and guarantee good prices.

Hotels that I recommend in Santa Maria Novella

Another interesting neighborhood to stay is Santa Maria Novella. This is a particularly exclusive area because of the proximity to the station (great if you want to do a lot of tours leaving from Florence) and the famous Church of Santa Maria Novella, a very important reference in Florence.

If you want some indications of hostels (or B&B) and apartments, I have some options that I suggest if you want to save money; click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion, make your reservation and guarantee good prices!

If you prefer hotels, I have some options that I recommend with great cost benefit! Click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion, make your reservation and guarantee good prices.

Hotels that I recommend in Santa Croce

Another neighborhood where you can stay is Santa Croce, where the homonymous church is located. This area, located in the southeastern part of the historic center, is close to the most interesting monuments and has its fulcrum in the church of Santa Croce. Among the scenic palaces in this district, there are many hotels that can accommodate you for a wonderful weekend in Florence.

If you want some indications of hostels (or B&B) and apartments, I have some options that I suggest if you want to save money; click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion, make your reservation and guarantee good prices!

If you prefer hotels, I have some options that I recommend with great cost benefit! Click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion, make your reservation and guarantee good prices.

Hotels that I recommend in Campo di Marte

Another economic possibility, where you can stay in Florence, is Campo di Marte; in this area there are several well-equipped and affordable hotels. It is a quiet and charming residential area in Florence, well connected to the historic city center by public transport. Campo di Marte has its own train station where several regional and high-speed trains stop, with which you can easily reach other Tuscan cities and major cities in Italy. It is a great choice if you have rented a car too.

If you want some indications of hostels (or B&B) and apartments, I have some options that I suggest if you want to save money; click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion, make your reservation and guarantee good prices!

If you prefer hotels, I have some options that I recommend with great cost benefit! Click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion, make your reservation and guarantee good prices.

Hotels I recommend outside the Historic Center

And so, if you decide to breathe a less touristic air, a good choice could be to stay in Florence right outside the historic center, where hotel prices are cheaper and the most convenient solution if you come by car. Another possibility is to stay away, in some nearby town, and experience the silence of the wonderful Tuscan landscape, but in this case it is necessary to have a car.

If you want some indications of hostels (or B&B) and apartments, I have some options that I suggest if you want to save money; click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion, make your reservation and guarantee good prices!

If you prefer hotels, I have some options that I recommend with great cost benefit! Click on the links below and get to know each one. If you like the suggestion, make your reservation and guarantee good prices.


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Conclusion

Visit the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence?  It is very complicated to try to describe what you will see at Palazzo Vecchio: everything is detailed, beautiful and, of course, priceless. It is, without a doubt, an experience that will only be complete when lived personally.

If you feel insecure or have no time, and need help to organize your trip, do not hesitate to look for me! I will love to help you make your dream trip to Italy. And how can I do that? Continue reading this post until the end and you will understand how can we make your life and journey easier.

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