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Palazzo Medici Riccardi is the prototype of civil Renaissance architecture. Situated in via Cavour, which was once called via Larga (or large street) the Palace is one of the most beautiful in the city.

 

The history of this palace is an integral part of the history of Florence itself. Cosimo de' Medici bought some houses on via Larga because he had decided to build his palace and home right here. The new building was designed by the architect Michelozzo in the middle of the 15th century. In 1659  palazzo mediciit was bought by the Riccardi family, which enlarged it and encharged some artists to decorate the interiors in Baroque style. Nowadays it houses the Provincia di Firenze, but a large part of it can be visited as a museum.

The porticoed courtyard is the heart of the palace and was designed and built by Michelozzo , together with the oldest core of the Medici residence. In the middle of it there is Baccio Bandinelli's statue depicting Orpheus who calms Cerberus down by singing, with a pedestal sculpted by Benedetto da Rovezzano.

On the walls there are more than 300 ancient pieces coming from the Riccardi's archeological collection.

The garden is set up simply and rationally, with features evoking 15th -century gardens. Sumptuous banquets took place in this green spot, also including the one for Lorenzo il Magnifico's wedding with Clarice Orsini.

The most significant part ot the palace is the Medici Chapel, a work by two artists. Michelozzo was responsible for the project of the chapel and the scarsella (a rectangular apse) which were then completely frescoed by Benozzo Gozzoli. The artist was chosen by Piero il Gottoso, Lorenzo's father. The works started in 1459 and depict the Magi's journey to Bethlehem. Iconographic inspiration is taken from the leading figures who gathered at the Council of Florence of 1439, as indicated by their clothes and the types of animals depicted with impressive richness of detail. The faces of many well-known Florentine personalities and of members of the Medici family can be recognized in the parade.

After Benozzo's chapel there is a nother very popular work in the palace, the madonna with child. In the Seventies of the 15th century Filippo Lippi - a very famous Renaissance painter - depicted a very intimate and gentle scene between the Madonna and her Child. Mary's dress and veil are very refined; mother and son stay together in a marble niche. On the back of the board there are some sketches made with brush and ink attributable to Filippo Lippi.

The Gallery is in rich Baroque style, it was ordered by the new owners, the Riccardis. The large hall has mirror walls and splendid frescoes by Luca Giordano, a Neapolitan painter of fame.

 

Palazzo Medici Riccardi is one of the museums of the Firenze card. It is open daily except for Wed, from 8.30 to 19.

 

Published: 1/7/2014

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