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Palazzo Vecchio

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The Palazzo Vecchio (‘Old Palace’) was originally called the Palazzo della Signoria after the medieval government of Florence who built and used it. Today most of the building is a museum, and visitors can see the stunning frescoes and ceilings in the Salone dei Cinquecento and the Studiolo of Francesco I. Visitors can also see Machiavelli’s office from the time when he was Secretary of the Republic, and a replica of Michelangelo’s David standing where the original once stood. Waiting times can be long in peak periods, so book tickets in advance to skip the lines!
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Tickets

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Florence: Palazzo Vecchio Entrance Ticket & Audioguide

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Palazzo Vecchio 90-Minute Morning Guided Tour

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Palazzo Vecchio Entrance Ticket with Tower Access

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Florence: Palazzo Vecchio Comprehensive Guided Tour

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Palazzo Vecchio: Museum & Video Guide

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Palazzo Vecchio 90-Minute Morning Guided Tour

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Florence: Palazzo Vecchio Comprehensive Guided Tour

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Small-Group Palazzo Vecchio Secret Passages Tour with Lunch

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Florence: Palazzo Vecchio Museum & Salone dei Cinquecento

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The Medici Way - Florence walking tour including Palazzo Vecchio - Semi private

 
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4 Tips for Visiting the Palazzo Vecchio

Torre di Arnolfo
1
Get an Awesome View from the TowerThe Torre di Arnolfo is 311 feet (95 meters) tall and is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Florence. The tower contains 233 steps and is a pretty challenging climb so it closes if it starts to rain. There’s often a line to access the tower, so consider making it one of the first stops on your tour of the palazzo.
Firenzecard
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Go for the FirenzecardIf you know you want to visit multiple museums or other sites in Florence, look into the Firenzecard. It offers you tickets for entry, any special exhibitions, and skip-the-line access to the 78 different attractions included. Combine your trip to the Palazzo Vecchio with the Uffizi Gallery, Medici Chapels, and several other museums, galleries, gardens, and religious sites, or go for the Firenzecard+ to get a free public transport ticket as well.
3
Take a Guided Tour to Discover Secret AreasThe Palazzo Vecchio offers several different guided tours, but the one that is especially worth taking is the Secret Passages tour! In addition to being taken around some of the most significant rooms, you’ll also be taken into several rooms and staircases used by the Medicis to move around the palace unseen. It takes 75 minutes and only costs an extra €5.
4
Visit the Roman RuinsIn 2014, the Italian Archaeological Cooperative formally announced that they had discovered a Roman amphitheater under the foundations of the Palazzo Vecchio, dating back to between 30 and 15 BCE. Visit to see the only visible Roman ruins in the heart of Florence!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Palazzo Vecchio?

The Palazzo Vecchio is Florence’s town hall. The oldest part of the building was constructed in 1299 on top of the ruined palace of the Uberti family. It was initially designed both to be easy to defend and to reflect the growing power and influence of the city of Florence. It was later expanded, and the existing tower was removed and replaced with a taller clock tower. The original name of the building was the Palazzo della Signoria, after the government of the Republic of Florence, but it went through several names. It was known as the Palazzo Ducale, when it was the home of Duke Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, but when he moved to the Palazzo Pitti, he renamed the palace the Palazzo Vecchio, ‘old palace’. It was later used as the offices of the provisional Italian government from 1865 to 1871, but since 1872 it has been the office of the mayor of Florence and the meeting place of the City Council. It’s also a museum that focuses on history and art.

What guided tours are available?

The Palazzo Vecchio offers several different official tours. A basic tour of the palazzo takes place four times daily (except on Thursday, when tours are at 10.30 am and 12 noon). The Secret Passages tour (not including the Vasari corridor) also runs four times daily (or at 10 am and 11.30 am on Thursday). Both of these tours are available in Italian, English, French, and Spanish. Another themed tour is called Secrets of Inferno and is focused on the Dan Brown novel Inferno, which takes place largely inside the Palazzo Vecchio, every day except Thursday at 2 pm. Several tours are particularly fun for children! The Invitation to the Court tour takes you around the palace before introducing you to actors playing Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici and Duchess Eleonora di Toledo. You’ll get the chance to ask them questions about their lives in the palazzo. There are also guided tours led by actors, including a tour with the architect and artist Giorgio Vasari, which is available at 3.30 pm in Italian and English every day except Thursday, This tour isn’t available in July and August. All tours take 75 minutes and cost an additional €5.

What do you see when you visit the Palazzo Vecchio?

Among the many impressive rooms you’ll visit, there are a few which are particularly important. Il Salone dei Cinquecento, or the Room of the Five Hundred, which was the room where the Great Council of the Florentine Republic met. It was modeled on the room used by Venice’s Upper Council. When Cosimo I de’ Medici moved into the palazzo, he used the room for public ceremonies and ordered its redecoration, during which many important and famous works were lost, including paintings by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Supposedly, Da Vinci’s work was hidden behind a false wall but attempts to find it have been unsuccessful so far. Today visitors can see frescoes that celebrate Florentine victories over nearby Pisa and Siena. The second floor contains the Apartments of the Elements (Sala degli Elementi), a sequence of five rooms which were the private apartment of Cosimo I. Each room has a different theme, based on either mythology or nature. You’ll also see the rooms belonging to Cosimo I’s wife, Eleonora of Toledo, which were also luxuriously decorated with friezes, tapestries, and painted ceilings. The final room which you can’t miss is the Hall of Geographical Maps, which attempts to document the whole world that was known in the 16th century. It was designed to hold some of the most unusual of the Medici treasures, and today contains unique cabinets created by Dionigi di Matteo Nigetti, each of which had doors that featured paintings of maps. There is also a huge globe from the 16th century which shows the Earth, the matching celestial globe was never completed. The Vasari Passage, which connects the Palazzo Vecchio to the Uffizi Gallery, has been closed for safety reasons since 2016, though plans are in place to refurbish it and open it to the public again in 2021.

Will my children enjoy a visit to the Palazzo Vecchio?

Yes! The Palazzo Vecchio has a handful of guided tours which are child-friendly, plus story-telling sessions and other activities. Children between the ages of four and seven will enjoy the Story of the Turtle and the Snail, which explains one of Cosimo I de’ Medici’s favorite mottos: Festina Lente, or ‘make haste slowly’. After listening to the fairytale, children will be led on a ‘turtle chase’ around the rooms of of the palazzo. Children aged 8 and over can enjoy the opportunity to try painting a fresco of their own! The fresco painting workshop takes place on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 am or 3 pm and guidance is provided in Italian, English, or French. Families can also borrow a special kit from the information desk. It includes a map and ideas for making the museum come alive for children aged six and over.

Is the statue of David outside the Palazzo Vecchio real?

No. The original statue of David by Michelangelo did stand outside the Palazzo Vecchio from 1504 to 1873. It was moved because it was beginning to be damaged, and today you can visit it in the Accademia Gallery. The replica was erected in the Piazza della Signoria in 1910 in order to show how the original would have looked in its intended position.

General Information

Opening Hours:

From October until March the museum and archaeological site are open from 9 am to 7 pm every day except Thursday. In the same period, the tower and battlements are open from 10 am to 5 pm (final admission at 4.30 pm) every day except Thursday. From April until September the museum and archaeological site are open from 9 am to 11 pm, and the tower and battlements are open from 9 am to 9 pm every day except Thursday. On Thursdays throughout the year, the different sites are open from 9 am to 2 pm. The ticket office closes 1 hour before the museum closes, and all sites are closed on December 25.

Address:

Palazzo Vecchio
Piazza della Signoria
50122 FIorence
Italy

Tickets:

Tickets for the museum, archaeological site, tower and battlements cost 19.50 € for adults, 17.50 € for visitors aged 18 to 25. A ticket for the museum, tower, and battlements costs 17.50 € and 15 € for visitors aged 18 to 25. Tickets for the museum and archaeological site cost 16 and 13.50 € for visitors aged 18 to 25. Tickets for the museum only cost 12.50 € and 10 for visitors aged 18 to 25. Visitors under the age of 18 or disabled visitors and their companions can enter free of charge. Children under the age of 8 can’t enter the archaeological site, and children under the age of 6 can’t enter the tower and battlements for safety reasons.

How to get there:

You can walk to the Palazzo Vecchio from Florence’s main train station, Santa Maria Novella, in less than 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can take bus number C2 to stops nearby. The closest car park is at Santa Maria Novella train station.
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