Florence – Oltrarno – Palazzo Pitti

Florence – Oltrarno – Palazzo Pitti

Visitors to Florence may find Arno a minor scratch in the city's texture, but from this, what the Florentines say, one might think, that the city is cut by a deep ravine. The area north of the river is called Arno di qua (here), and the other side of the river Arno di la (tam), that is Oltrarno; this terminology goes back to the Middle Ages, while the southern part was geographically more distinct than it is today. Although it is traditionally a craft district, there have always been enclaves of prosperity in Oltrarno and many ruling families decided to settle here. Today, on the river Borgo San Jacopo parallel to the south bank, there are some of the most exclusive shops in the city, while the windows of the houses facing Via Maggio are astonishing windows for palace furniture.


The direct road from the city center to the heart of Oltrarno crosses the river with the Ponte Vecchio bridge, the only one, which was not mined by the retreating Nazis in 1944 r. Built in 1345 r. in place of a wooden bridge, Ponte Vecchio was always full of shops hanging over the water, but the monopoly of jewelers only dates back to 1593 r., when Ferdinando I evicted the butchers' slaughterhouses. During the day, the bridge is full of tourists and affluent shoppers, but when the shutters fall, the movement continues, because street traders are setting up their stalls, and the local studio apartment clusters around the bust of Cellini, waiting, what kind of company the heavens will bring them.

The reason for the eviction of the butchers by Ferdinand was because of the fact, that the slices of meat lay directly under the corridor constructed by Vasari connecting Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti. Through a specially built portico, the corridor runs along the nearby Santa Felicita, probably the oldest church in Florence after San Lorenzo. Rebuilt in the 16th - when the church became a Medici chapel - and in the 18th century. the interior is worth visiting for the Pontorma paintings in Cappella Capponi (to the right, right outside the door). His Entombment, on which the body of Christ is wrapped in the blue of the sky and pink drapery, belongs to the masterpieces of Florentine mannerism.

Palazzo Pitti

The Palazzo Pitti, the largest palace in Florence, still bears the name of a man, who built it, although the Medici came into possession of it later. Luca Pitti was an outstanding rival of Cosimo the Elder and the impetus for building a new home was largely the desire to surpass the Medici. The construction of the palace began in 1457 r., probably designed by Brunelleschi, who made it for the Medici palace: but Cosimo rejected the project as being too exuberant. The central block was constantly expanded until the beginning of the 17th century., until it finally reached its colossal dimensions today. Palazzo Pitti and its wonderful gardens - Giardino di Bóboli - contain six separate museums, open Tue-Sat. 9.00-14.00, nd. 9.00-13.00. The uniform admission fee is 4000 L, but a ticket to the Museo degli Argenti also entitles access to the Museo delle Porcellane and Galleria del Costume.


Many of the paintings collected in the 17th century. by the Medici is now located in the Galleria Palatina, composed of 26 apartment rooms on the first floor of one wing of the palace. After the Ufłizi, it is the most extensive public gallery in Florence and you need to spend a good half a day on it.. Sometimes the pictures hang three times one above the other, just like in times, when they are acquired, and they do not submit to any ordering rule, thanks to which each room is extremely diverse - a nice alternative to the didactic exhibition methods of modern museums.

The Palatina's strength is the art of the 16th century. - especially the works of Raphael and Titian. There are half a dozen exquisite paintings by Raphael here, and an even more numerous group of outstanding works by Titian includes some of his most penetrating portraits - including Pietra Aretino, wymuskanego Kardynała Ippolito de ‘Medici oraz wprawiający w zakłopotanie Portret Anglika, image, which makes, that the viewer feels stripped down to its prime factors, just like the model. It also features works by Andrea del Sarto and Rubens, whose Allegory of War is more striking than most Baroque allegories. Individual works, worth seeking out, is The Entombment of Fra Bartolomea, Perugin's approach to the same subject, tondo Madonna with the Child of Filippo Lippi, Caravaggio's Sleeping Cupid and Allori's Judith and Holofernes, a painting containing portraits of the painter, his mistress and his mother.


Most of the rest of the first floor is occupied by Appartamenti Monumentali. Pittich representative rooms; in the last century they were completely renovated by the family of the princes of Loreto, but the current renovation makes it impossible to appreciate their work.

Galleria d'Arte Moderna is one floor above, chronological overview of mainly Tuscan art from the mid-18th century. do 1945 r. The macchiaioli creations are the most interesting, the Italian "branch" of the Impressionist movement; the most astonishing, however, is the outstanding achievement in the field of kitsch, in the kind of the pregnant nun by Antonio Ciseri.

Museo degli Argenti in the palace, which is entered from the garden courtyard, it is not - as the name suggests - only a table silver museum, but a collection of luxurious arts and crafts in general. The first candidates to admire visitors are the collection of ancient vases of Lawrence the Magnificent, exhibited in one of the four rooms on the ground floor with magnificent frescoes. However, the later the exhibit was created, the greater the discrepancy between the skill of the craftsman and the taste, who guided his hand; upon reaching the end of the jewelry display on the first floor, you will lose the ability to be surprised or disgusted.

Visitors without specialist interests will likely be delighted with the other two museums, which are currently open. In Galleria del Costume - located in Palazzina della Meridiana, The eighteenth-century south wing of the Pittich - you can admire the dress, where Eleanor of Toledo was buried, although an equally good idea is given by Bronzin's portrait in the Palazzo Vecchio. Porcelain Museum, on the other side of Giardino di Bóboli, contains well displayed, but monotonous harvest.


Creating a huge palace garden, Boboli's Garden (codz. III, IV and X 9.00-17.30; V-IX 9.00-18.30; XI-II 9.00-16.30; Free entrance), it has began, when the Medici took ownership of the Palazzo Pitti, and was continued until the beginning of the 17th century. It is the only extensive green area in the center, so it can be crowded around the gates; however, towards the center of the garden it gets calmer, for many are deterred by the steep slope of the alleys.

Of all the mannerist decorations in the garden, the Grotta del Buontalenti is the most famous, near the entrance, to the left of the palace facade, next to the figure of the court dwarf Cosimo I. (on thousands of postcards). Among the false stalactites are shepherds and sheep, which look like calcified sponges, and in the corners are replicas of Michelangelo's Slaves, replacing the originals, that have been here until 1908 r. He stands in the deepest depths of the cave (normally only visible from behind the railings) Venus Giambologni, which the entourage of dwarfs mocked.

Huge amphitheater, facing the palace courtyard, was designed in the 17th century. as an arena for Medici festivities, on the site of a garden in the shape of a Roman circus, previously planned by Ammannati. At the other end of the gardens, the focus is on an island on a fountain called Isolotto; it's best to go there along the main cypress avenue, called Viottolone, decorated with a row of sculptures, including many Roman originals. Going forward, straight from the fountain you come to Porta Romana, which takes its name from the 14th-century gate on the street outside.

Usually it is possible to exit the gardens through the gate leading to Forte di Behedere (codz. 9.00-20.00; Free entrance), star-shaped fortress, built on the order of Ferdinand 1st century 1590 r. allegedly for the defense of the city, but in fact to intimidate the Grand Duke's Florentine subjects. Art exhibitions are sometimes held in the boxed palace in the middle of the fortress, but they rarely provide more interesting impressions than the incredible panorama of the city stretching from there. Costa San Giorgio leads to the fort, which starts at the back of Santa Felicita. To the east of the belvedere there is the best-preserved section of the fortified walls;, attractive, albeit a tiring route to San Miniato.

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