Forte di San Giorgio, better known as Forte di Belvedere, in Florence was founded in 1590 during the reign of Grand Duke Ferdinand I, and was designed according to plans by Bernardo Buontalenti. In addition to defending the city from potential attacks from the outside – a role it never needed to serve – the stronghold could be reached from Palazzo Pitti, via the Boboli Gardens, in case of emergency.
Inside, the fortress is home to the elegant Palazzina di Belvedere, older than the Forte and probably designed by Bartolomeo Ammannati around 1570. The Palazzina became the Medici’s vault, who kept their possessions at the bottom of a well inside the building: whoever attempted to force open the lock would have set off a deadly trap that would pierce through them.
Today, the Belvedere is home to major exhibitions and cultural events, and is one of the places where you can enjoy a spectacular view of Florence.