The Uffizi Gallery might get more attention, but the Palazzo Pitti across the river is the largest museum complex in Florence. The vast Renaissance palace itself has been owned by the Medici family, used by Napoleon, and repurposed as home to King Victor Emmanuel III. Today you can visit rooms that house Renaissance paintings by Titian, Raphael, and Rubens; a lavish Medici silver and jewelry collection; a collection of fine European porcelain; and a costume collection. An all-in-one ticket grants entrance to each of the museums: Museo Argenti, Galleria Costume, and Museo Porcellane, as well as the Boboli and Bardini gardens.

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A Museum and a Garden Fit for Royalty

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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