The palace was commissioned around 1444 from the architect Michelozzo by Cosimo the Elder, patriarch of the Medici family, who had it built in Via Larga (current via Cavour) near the church of San Lorenzo was the first one in clear Renaissance style built in Florence.
Characterized by the toned-down ashlar work and crowned by a sturdy cornice, the building facade is decorated with elegant biforate mullioned windows, while at ground level, at the corner area, the arcade, now closed, was open to form a loggia. The two symmetrical entrance doors lead into a courtyard, built according to the Brunelleschi model and originally decorated in graffitto, and from here into a typical Italian style garden. The building was completed in 1460 (and was also the residence of Lorenzo the Magnificent), but already in 1517 the first modifications to the original structure took place, with the closing of the loggia and the construction of two “kneeling windows” designed by Michelangelo.
After Cosimo de' Medici became Grand Duke and moved to Palazzo Vecchio in 1540, the palace was still lived in by minor members of the family until 1659, when Ferdinand II sold it to the Riccardi marquises, who ordered considerable modifications and extensions. In its interior, a large hall was built which was painted in frescoes by Luca Giordano and which is one of the most significant examples of Baroque in Florence, while the architect Foggini designed the new staircase at the entrance. The courtyard was also rearranged in baroque style with the addition of antique marble pieces from the Riccardi collection.
One of the most interesting elements of the palace is the Chapel painted in frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli in 1459, who represented on its walls The Cavalcade of the Magi: in reality the decoration made explicit reference to the procession which took place in Florence 1439 on the occasion of the Council, and in fact many protagonists of the time can be recognized in the characters painted by Benozzo, among which the members of the Medici family obviously stand out.
Medici Riccardi Palace
Via Cavour 3 - Florence
Source: Florence APT