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Palazzo Pitti

The Royal Apartments at Palazzo Pitti

An insight into the royal palace through three historic periods

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The Royal Apartments are housed in the right arm of the Palazzo Pitti on the first floor, known in Italian palazzi as the “noble floor” or piano nobile, and they offer an important insight to the life of the royal family over tree successive historic periods. The first period, from the middle of the 16th century through the end of the 17th century, is characterized by the pomp of the Medici court. The rooms along the facade, which were designated for the hereditary prince, belong to this period, while the corrisponding rooms on the side of the building were dedicated to his consort. The floorplan remains the same as it was under Grand Prince Ferdinando dei Medici who loved here until the year of his death in 1713. There are still a few, precious elements of decoration which date from the Medici period, including a cabinet in ebony and precious stones which belonged to the wife of Ferdinando II, Granduchess Vittoria della Rovere; and the chapel which was once a refuge for Grand Prince Ferdinando which conserves its late 17th century decorations.

At the end of the Medici dynasty (1734), the Apartments passed to the Lorena family which undertook a major renovation to bring the apartments up to date. Many of the ceiling decorations, in paint and plaster, date from thos period, as well as the oval room known as the Queen's Toilette, decorated with panels of hand-embroidered silk designed by Ignazio Pellegrini and a Roccoco ceiling which is typical of the second half of the 18th century.
At the time of Italy's unification, and the brief period that Florence was the capital (1866-1870), the Apartments became the residence of King Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoy. A few of the rooms were completely redecorated and re-carpeted, including the red damask throne room which provides an example of the Neo-Baroque style of the second half of the 1800s.
These three different styles, each corresponding to a different historical moment, coexist in a sumptuous harmony which has been opened to the public since 1993. Prior to being opened, the rooms were carefully restored—as closely as possible—to the way they were described in the 1911 inventory of Palazzo Pitti.

Source: Florence APT

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