The palace, commissioned by Francesco I de' Medici and built between 1583 and 1587, overlooks the lungarni while at the back, through two wide arches, it is connected on one side to the church of San Nicola and on the other to the 13th-century Casa delle Vedove. Currently also home to the Soprintendenza, it houses the museum in the rooms on the piano nobile.
It documents the unfolding over time of an identical propensity for beauty of the ruling classes, from the Medici to the bourgeois collectors of the 20th century.
Indeed, the tapestries and furnishings that the Medici used to adorn the rooms of the palace itself are displayed there. Notable among the group of portraits of the principal members of the house (many from the collection of the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen) are the remarkable effigies of Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de' Medici (by Bronzino) [Sala degli Arazzi], of Cosimo himself depicted with the grand ducal insignia (a copy by the Flemish Iustus Sustermans, the official portraitist of the house), and of Ferdinando de' Medici in the guise of a cardinal (by Alessandro Allori) [Sala 7].
Other monumental portraits of the grand dukes [Room 8], flank the numerous portraits (works by Ferretti and Tempesti) of members of the Lorraine lineage that succeeded the Medici in the government of Tuscany and of two Savoy kings, Victor Emmanuel II and Umberto I [Room 11].
Of particular note is the collection of ancient armaments of the Gioco del Ponte, filled with more than 900 pieces of Lombard workmanship from the 15th-18th centuries [Room 6]. Private collections that have come in various capacities include works attributed to Rosso Fiorentino (Rebecca at the Well), to the very young Raphael (the Miracle of the Two Hanged Men, part of the predella of the Triptych of St. Nicholas of Tolentino) [Room 12], by Francesco and Luigi Gioli, and the very rich bequest of the surgeon Antonio Ceci with Italian and Flemish paintings, miniatures on ivory, medals, porcelain, bronzes and drawings [Rooms 13-16].
Among the most recent acquisitions are paintings by Plinio Nomellini, Spartaco Carlini, Galileo Ghini, Mino Rosi, and Gianni Bertini.
Also on display are the extremely rich gipsoteca and paintings by Italo Griselli, among the leading Italian sculptor-portraitists of the first half of the 20th century [Rooms 17-21].
€ 9,00 per person
Entry ticket to the museum
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