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Palazzo Vecchio in Florence


Palazzo Vecchio was built in 1293 as the seat of the Seigniory, which was the political authority in Florence. The central nucleus was built by Arnolfo di Cambio (1299-1304), while the tower was raised up on the foundations of a pre-existing building, something which explains why it is not placed exactly in the middle of the palace. The Palace was later enlarged by Vasari in the XVI century, and by Buontalenti in 1600. When the Medici Family came to power, they moved their residence into Palazzo Vecchio.


After being the seat of the temporary government in 1848 and 1859, Palazzo Vecchio was also used to house the Chamber of Deputies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 1865 and 1871, at time when Florence was the capital of Italy. Since 1872 the Palace has been the seat of the municipality. The most famous room inside Palazzo Vecchio is the Hall of the Five Hundred, where it is possible to admire works by Simone del Pollaiolo, Vasari, Giambologna and Michelangelo.


Leonardo da Vinci also painted inside this room the Battle of Anghiari, an uncompleted work of which no traces were left. Legend has it that a fresco competition was held between Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Leonardo used some experimental techniques, so his painting began to deteriorate while still in progress. According to the legend, this painting is still hidden under Vasari’s fresco, as proved by the sibylline sentence written on the painting that says “Search, Find”.

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