Ah, the Renaissance – those were the days, when Luca Pitti in Firenze (Florence) could build himself a home fit for royalty.
Remember to look up. Part of the ceiling in one of the museums.
Starting in the 1450s, the banker had Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace) built as his residence, just down the road from the now famous tourist attraction Ponte Vecchio. It was so grand, the ruling Medici family purchased it in 1549 and used it as their residence for many generations.
A fairly decent backyard
Shortly after the First World War the Pitti Palace and its magnificent backyard, the Boboli Gardens, were opened to the public by the King of Italy and it was transformed into several museums.
A courtyard inside the front entrance
You need at least a day to try and take in what's behind the (relatively) unassuming front walls.
The Orange Grove in the Boboli Gardens
There are museums of theatrical costumes from the 16th to 20th centuries, art galleries, the Royal Apartments where the Medici family and later the Italian Royal Family lived, and galleries dedicated to silver and gems or porcelain.
Boboli Gardens is a vast area, with many pathways to explore
Tickets can be purchased to enter all or some of these areas, as well as the gardens. A ticket to the gardens also gets you access into some of the museums, but not Palatine or Modern Art. A single ticket can be purchased to access these two galleries.
The two main art galleries are the Palatine Gallery, housing Renaissance art including works by Titian and Raphael, and the Gallery of Modern Art. Don't be fooled by the latter – it was established in 1748 with that name and doesn't contain any paintings created this side of World War One.
Don't miss out on going into the Boboli Gardens. It is full of statues and fountains, with paths heading off all over the place.
It is quite deceptive in scale, and at first appears to be contained to an area directly behind the palace. If you follow this route, you will end up at a small gallery at the rear of the estate, up some steps, situated in a rose garden overlooking the Tuscan hills.
As you return, the views in the other direction over the city of Florence are stunning.
But that's not all.
Explore. You will find paths that seem to lead away forever. Start following some of these, and you will eventually find all sorts of groves, buildings (including a replica of a Pompeii
household), parks, fountains, statues, grottoes, and, of course, an amazing variety of plants and trees.
A grotto tucked away in a corner of the estate
You can just see parts of Palazzo Pitti
if you wish but, whichever part you choose, you will be amazed.