Susanna’s tips – Florence, a walking itinerary with a theme: architecture

In my planning of a walking tour with Architecture theme, I would focus the attention on the 3 Medici residences in Florence

First stop: Palazzo Medici Riccardi, built in 1444 by Michelozzo for Cosimo the Elder Medici. The palace was home to the Medici until they were sent to exhile in 1494. It was owned by the family and then sold to the Riccardi in the XVIIC

Second  stop: Palazzo Vecchio

Third stop : Pitti Palace purchased in 1559 by Eleonora di Toledo Cosimo I’s wife with the money of her  dowery by the Pitti family, formerly rivals of the Medicis and then financially ruined and forced to sell it. It was extended several times and embellished with frescoes  to accommodate the Medici court when the family princely ruled over Tuscany. In this palace the last Medici  Granduke, Giangastone,  died in 1737 and it was the end of the Medici rule. Behind the palace one can admire the gorgeous Boboli Gardens, designed in the 15s and still among the best preserved examples of Italian gardens  with their formal character.

Let’s know more about Susanna’s tour of Palazzo Vecchio

I would start a visit to PALAZZO VECCHIO from the outside, showing my clients the architectural elements borrowed from castle keeps and the symbols of the Florentine Republic painted on the façade and carved in the white marble windows.

Among the special features and things to see around the Palazzo Vecchio

Among the special features and things to see around the Palazzo Vecchio

  • On the northern side the entrance door to the recently restored remains on a Roman Theatre (Palazzo Vecchio was built on top of them)
  • On the façade, in front of it, in the second courtyard: the statues of lions

The significance of statues of lions in Florence

Statues of lions have been seen around Florence since the Middle Ages and today you can spot them just about anywhere. Although they are a symbol of power all over the world, they have a particular connection to this city. The heraldic lion – also known as the Marzocco lion – is the animal symbol representing the free Republic of Florence. As the legend goes, the Florentine Republic chose the symbol of the lion over other animals because lions are able to tear apart the eagle, which is the symbol of imperial power. The most famous Marzocco is in piazza della Signoria. Sculpted in grey pietra serena by Donatello in the early 15th century, this Marzocco lion protects the red lily, the symbol of the city. The Marzocco we see in piazza is a copy, the original has been conserved in the Bargello since 1855. There were cages, behind Palazzo Vecchio, where the Florentines kept real lions to what is now via dei Leoni, or Street of the Lions. In the fifteenth century as many as 24 lions were kept here.

Among the special features and things to see for free around Palazzo Vecchio

Facing the southern side the remains of the ancient Church San Pier Scheraggio. The old nave of San Pier Scheraggio is the only part of the church that is still almost intact and is encapsulated into the Uffizi ground floor, close to Palazzo Vecchio and near the museum entrance.


Near Palazzo Vecchio you can admire also the exterior of the beautiful late Gothic church of Orsanmichele. Located on the Via Calzaiuoli, the church was originally built as a grain warehouse and grain market in 1337 by Francesco Talenti, Neri di Fioravante, and Benci di Cione. Between 1380 and 1404 it was converted into a church used as the chapel of Florence’s powerful craft and trade guilds.


I would go next to the Pitti Palace as that was the mansion where the Medicis moved in after having left Palazzo Vecchio that was for this reason called the “Old Palace”.

On our way we will see many other famous attractions like:

On our way we will see many other famous attractions like:

  • The Uffizi building
  • The Ponte Vecchio
  • The Vasari’s Corridor
  • The Church Santa Felicita


Tips about other Places in the area that can be included in the tour:

Boboli Gardens


Tips about Places in the area to eat and drink

A nice places to eat and drink: The Golden View

A nice place for a gelato:  La Strega Nocciola

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Pitti Palace tour with Palatine Gallery anda Boboli Garden in Florence

Palazzo Pitti is a wonderful palace with an imposing rustic ashlar structure overlooking Piazza Pitti which was purchased by the Medici at the height of their power to transform it into a dynastic palace.

Palazzo Vecchio tour in Florence

Palazzo Vecchio or Palazzo della Signoria is an imposing palace-fortress overlooking the splendid Piazza della Signoria and was the seat of the city's local government for over seven centuries and one of the most famous symbols of Florence