Palazzo Vecchio Tour
Salone dei Cinquecento
Francesco I’ Studiolo
Medici Family Apartments
Sala dei Gigli
Geographic Maps Hall
Tour duration: 2 hours
Suitable for children: sì
Accessibility for different ables: yes
Difference in level: 5 metres
Further at the bottom of the page (or click here)
A symbolic building of Florence
Through Palazzo Vecchio tour you will be surprised by the beauties and the secrets kept in what is a symbolic building of Florence. As in other few places in the city, many important events have taken place in Palazzo Vecchio over the centuries, from the Middle Ages – the era of the fierce fights between Guelphs and Ghibellines – to the Renaissance, when the Florentine political climate was inflamed by the Girolamo Savonarola‘s sermons, until the nineteenth century, at the time of Florence as capital of Italy, when Palazzo Vecchio played an important role.
We will start our tour from Michelozzo’s Courtyard, the splendid entrance to the palace, entirely frescoed with refined grotesque motifs and views of Northern European cities. Already from this first space we would have secrets to uncover, such as the unusual representation of cities of Austria and Germany in the historic heart of Florence. Going up the large staircase leading to the upper floor, you will be amazed at the sight of the immense “Salone dei Cinquecento“. Once inside, you will finally be able to realize that you are in a particular celebrated places of Florence, both for the majesty and richness of decorations, and for the mysteries that hover over the decoration of this hall.
“Salone dei Cinquecento”
The secrets of the Salone dei Cinquecento
Created under the theocratic government of Girolamo Savonarola, the hall today features a sumptuous decoration celebrating the glories of the Medici family and of Cosimo I in particular. We will retrace the salient events that here took place, concerning not only the history of Florence but those of the whole of Italy as well. Among the many important events, not everyone knows that a very special duel took place here, done not with sword strokes but with brush strokes; the duelists were the great Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Since only Leonardo’s fresco remains, we and find out where his work is hidden …
The “Studiolo” of Francesco I, a treasure chest of wonders
We will move on with the Palazzo Vecchio tour with a visit to the “Studiolo of Francis I” (the cabinet), a small and precious room entirely decorated with paintings on wood and copper made by Giorgio Vasari and collaborators, as well as refined bronze sculptures by the most appreciated sculptors in the mid-16th century. It will be enchanting to you to discover the fascinating symbolism that lies behind these wonderful works, all linked to an iconographic program that wanted to enhance the elements of nature and the role of alchemy, a theme that particularly fascinated the Grand Duke Francis I, who commissioned this ‘wonder room’. Together we will then see what is hidden behind each of the painted panels of this “Studiolo”.
We will continue our journey by entering the magnificently decorated rooms in the mid-1500s and each dedicated to an illustrious member of the Medici family: we will then find the ‘deeds’ accomplished by Cosimo I’s ancestors – commissioner of the decorations – including his namesake Cosimo the Elder, Lorenzo the Magnificent and Pope Leo X. In the room dedicated to the pontifex, we find a depiction in painting of Michelangelo’s David. I guarantee you will be baffled by the very particular way in which the artist’s masterpiece was reproduced here ..
Francesco I’s Studiolo
Cosimo the Elder’s Room, detail
The Elements quarter and the Eleonora’s Apartment
The second level of the rooms opens with the “Quartiere degli Elementi” (The Quarter of the Elements), a space where you can admire the fascinating symbolism hidden behind the figures of the Olympians here featured, each associated with a member of the Medici family seen in the level below. On the “Terrazza di Saturno” (Saturn Terrace), you enjoy a beautiful view of the historic centre of Florence and you will notice some usually not visible details of the Uffizi Gallery, the façade of Santa Croce Basilica and a particular structure of the Boboli Gardens whose exotic shape can only be seen from here. After having seen the rooms of the Duke, it will be the turn of the rooms of the Duchess, refined decorated rooms for one of the most illustrious women in the Medici family history: Eleonora of Toledo.
The Dante Alighieri’s mask
We then visit the small and very elegant private Duchess’ Chapel, completely decorated by Bronzino; here I will reveal to you the secret behind the altarpiece and its link with a painting preserved in France … We will then see the other rooms of the apartment, decorated with themes aimed to emphasize female virtues through famous women of the ancient world’s examples. The rooms, gotten in the medieval part of the building, lead us to see some fascinating objects, such as a mask of Dante Alghieri, made famous by a novel by Dan Brown; beyond all the fantastic elaborations, the mask is a truly ancient object and has a history that deserves to be discovered. With a visit to the Prior Chapel, you will see where Girolamo Savonarola spent the last moments of his life before being executed in Piazza della Signoria. In the Audience Room you can see the frescoes by a very virtuous, though less known painters in the history of art: Francesco Salviati; his Furio Camillo Stories exalt a character of the Medici family.
We will conclude our Palazzo Vecchio tour by seeing the “Sala dei Gigli” (The Lilies Room) – where the original bronze group of the Judith and Holofernes by Donatello is kept – and the Geographic Maps Hall, an extraordinary document of cartographic knowledge of the world in the mid-1500s; here I will also show you how well camouflaged is another palace’s secret passages, built on the commission the Duke of Athens in the mid-1300s.
The Palazzo Vecchio tour greatly enriches the experience of your visit in Florence. Thanks to its historical importance and its many works of art, the building will give you one surprise after another.
Room of the Elements
Access Staircase to the second floor of Palazzo Vecchio
important Information about the tour (click here)
A convenient way to access all the museums or to use the Florentine public transport service is by the Firenze Card (temporarily not active).
The activity proposed here is not a joinable tour but a private tour that is carried out on request of individuals or groups organised with a tourist agency and can be customised for starting time, meeting place and duration. depending on the customer’s needs.
Palazzo Vecchio Tour duration
Duration of Palazzo vecchio tour is 2 hours.
Radio rental compulsory from 6 people onwards
From 6 people onwards, to facilitate listening to the guide explanations and ensuring social distancing outdoors and indoors, it is strictly recommended to rent radio devices with transmitters that ensure perfect listening to the explanations of the guide even from a distance; since in this tour we visit the inside of Palazzo Vecchio, the rental of radios is compulsory for 4 or more people. The service is booked by the guide when the guided tour is requested, but the rental cost, which is € 1.00 per person for 2 or 3 hours, is charged to the customer and can be paid directly to the guide who will then take care to pay the supplier.
Carers or teachers of school groups do not pay for the rental of the radio.
Opening hours of Palazzo Vecchio:
Ticket Price Palazzo Vecchio
The price of ticket at Palazzo Vecchio is not included in the rate of the tour.
The guide does not provide private transport service, which entails the client needs to reach the meeting point established in the route on his own.
To get the contact of a licensed driver who provides private transfer service, as well as getting further information about the tour, please write to:
Cost and reservation of the tour (click here)
Cost of the Florence private guided tour
The rate for a 2-hours private guided tour is 120.00 € (price in total and not per person), for 3 hours 150.00 € (always price in total and not per person).
For further information about the rates, also to check the deals available, please visit the dedicated section by clicking here.
How to book the tour?
Once the day and time of the tour have been agreed with the guide, to book it is necessary to advance 50% of the tour value with a deposit to be paid by credit card.
Attention: pay the deposit only after agreed the date and the details of the tour with the guide. The remaining payment of the guided tour takes place after the tour by card, in cash or by bank transfer.
It is the responsibility of the guide to guarantee the guide service in any case. If, even for personal reasons, the guide is unable to perform the service in the date set with the client, it will be his concern to contact a trusted colleague who can replace him and therefore guarantee the customer service.
The cancellation of the tour from the client can be done free of charge by giving timely notice to the guide before 48 hours from the date and time agreed for the service. In this case the deposit paid in advance by the customer will be returned by the guide. If instead cancellation is made by the customer when there are less than 48 hours before the date agreed for the service, the customer will lose the deposit paid.
How to reach Florence Historic centre (click here)
Reachable via the A1 motorway (Firenze Scandicci exit and from there continue towards the center, reaching the area of the Santa Maria Novella station, where there is a multi-storey underground car park (reachable only for vehicles with engines from EURO 6 onwards). From the station underpass, Piazza di Santa Maria Novella can be reached in a few minutes.
As a cheaper alternative to the underground car park, there is the Piazzale Montelungo car park (always subject to charges). An excellent alternative to car parking near the center historic is to leave the vehicle at the Villa Costanza car park and from there take the T1 tram line which takes about 22 minutes to reach the Santa Maria Novella station. The T1 line has stops both before and after the Santa Maria station Novella that can be convenient to reach any accommodation For more information on the Tramvia timetables and stops click here.
By private bus lines
|There are connections of private lines to reach Florence, such as Italbus and Flixbus which reach the Villa Costanza tramway station; from the latter the tram line takes about 22 minutes to reach Santa Maria Novella station. For more info on the Tramvia timetables click here.|
Florence can be reached by plane via the Amerigo Vespucci Airport. From here the historic center is connected:
With the Tram
With Taxi service
Contatctable to the numbers +390554643159 al +390554242 or on the web site clicking here.
Florence can be reached by train with the Trenitalia service. Depending on your accommodation needs, you can arrive in Firenze Santa Maria Novella, Firenze Rifredi or Firenze Campo di Marte. With the regional lines then Florence can also be reached from other cities of Tuscany.
Organised Groups with tourist coach
For organised groups by touristic bus, there are drop-off/drop-on points for passengers in the urban centre of Florence (click here to view the points).
Tourist coaches are subject to the payment of a checkpoint (more information here).
|Camper owners find car parks for campers (only some of these are equipped) in Via delle Porte Sante,, in Via delle Porte Sante, in Viale Abramo Lincoln, in Via Luigi Castaldi, in Largo Alcide De Gasperi, at the Largo Alcide De Gasperi (the latter connected to the center with the Nelli-Torregalli tram stop). For more info on the equipped Campervan areas around Florence click here.|