This gigantic palace was the city residence, first of the Medici dynasty and then later of the Habsburg-Lorraines. When Florence became the capital of Italy between 1865 and 1871, King Victor Emanuel II of the House of Savoy lived here.
The building was begun by Luca Pitti in the second half of the 15th century following older designs by Filippo Brunelleschi who drew his inspiration for an arcaded structure from ancient Roman aqueducts. In 1549, it was acquired by Eleonora of Toledo, wife of Cosimo de’ Medici, who was proclaimed Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1569. The building was enlarged between 1558 and 1577 by Bartolomeo Ammannati but, between 1620 and 1780, other enlargements were made that resulted in the colossal dimensions and present appearance that you can see today.
The oldest part, which remains faithful to Brunelleschi’s design, is the central section with the great entrance doorway and the seven windows on each of the two floors.
As you go through the doorway, you walk into the magnificent courtyard with very beautiful and impressive proportions, which was designed by Ammannati, and which opens out into an enchanting vista of the Boboli Gardens.