Once home to the Medici princes, Palazzo Pitti is now our portal to Renaissance Florence. It is divided into six sections and, after three visits, I still cannot choose a favorite.
The left wing is comprised of the Royal Apartments—a section that gives us a peek at the bedrooms of Italian royalty—and the Palatine Gallery. Works of art by masters such as Pietro de Cortona, Raphael, and Titian adorn the walls of this gallery. The Modern Art Gallery, on the other hand, primarily hosts sculptures and paintings from the neoclassical and romantic periods. The Costume Gallery shows off a large array of outfits worn by men and women from the 16th to the 20th centuries. The Museo degli Argenti and the Porcelain Museum display silver and porcelain treasures. As if all the art weren't enough, you can view the Arno river from the windows of the palace.
Once outside, you'll find that the Boboli Gardens are basically Adam and Eve's paradise. The fountains, adorned with sculptures of angels, give extra charm to the expansive green spaces. As you wander among the roses and stroll through passages shaded by arched trees on both sides, you'll feel like you're in your own secret garden. And in the late afternoon, when the sun hits the magical view of Florence just right, you know that you wouldn't change this paradise for all the apples in the world.
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A room with a view?
A recent refurb hasn’t destroyed the old-world charm of this hotel, housed on the top floor of a magnificent 16th century palazzo. Most of its 15 comfortable, pastel-hued rooms have wonderful rooftop views and are furnished with antiques. Its best feature is the wraparound loggia which overlooks lively Piazza Santo Spirito: I can’t think of a better place for a sundowner than right here!
The most sublime experience in Firenze is sitting on the loggia at the Palazzo Guadagni on the square at Saint Spirito in Florence at sunset. You sit on the terrace and sip prosecco, and look over the beautiful terra-cotta tiled roofs and settle in.
This massive palace was built for banker Luca Pitti in 1457 and acquired by Cosimo de’ Medici in the 1540s. It houses several museums, the most important of which is the Galleria Palatina, where masterpieces are hung in a series of lavish rooms with ceiling frescoes by Pietro da Cortona. Look out for Filippo Lippi’s Madonna and Child, Raphael’s Holy Family and paintings by Van Dyke, Titian, Rubens and Caravaggio.