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Forte Belvedere

Historical Buildings

An ancient fortification that hosts major exhibitions and gives one of the most beautiful views of Florence

Florence's Forte di San Giorgio, better known as Forte Belvedere, was built between 1590 and 1595, during the Grand Duchy of Ferdinand I, based on a design by Bernardo Buontalenti. In addition to defending the city from any outside attacks, in case of danger the fort could be reached from the Pitti Palace through the Boboli Gardens, which in turn could be reached from the Vasari Corridor.

The structure is dominated by the elegant Palazzina di Belvedere, probably designed by Bartolomeo Ammannati around 1570 and thus pre-existing the construction of the Fort. The Palazzina became the Medici's safe, whose possessions were kept in a room accessed by a narrow staircase and doors protected by mechanisms and pitfalls (e.g., sharp blades ready to pierce anyone who tried to pick the lock), and which could even be flooded to drown intruders.

The fort never suffered a siege and not a single shot was ever fired from its ramparts. In the decades after World War II, restoration and maintenance works alternated with periods of neglect. 
Today it is open in the summer months (generally from June to October) and is the site of major exhibitions and cultural events.
One of the most beautiful views of Florence can be enjoyed from here.

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