Medici Riccardi Palace
Palazzo Medici Riccardi
Museum's plan
The Palace

Towards 1444 Cosimo the Eldest, the patriarch of the Medici family, commissioned to Michelozzo a palace to be built in via Larga (now via Cavour), close to the church of San Lorenzo: the palace is the first Renaissance building erected in Florence. Characterised by clearly delineated and rusticated floors and a huge cornice crowning the roofline, the palace stands out for the arched windows arranged along its front and the partially closed loggia on the corner of the building. Two asymmetrical doors led to the typical fifheenth century courtyard, built following models of Brunelleschi and decorated with graffiti, originally opened on to a typically Renaissance garden. By 1460 the palace was complete (it was also the residence of Lorenzo the Magnificent), although in 1517 the original building was altered by closing the loggia and adding the two "kneeling" windows according to Michelangelo's project. Originally designed as a sort of cube with ten windows for each ground and three big doors in the facade.

After the transfer of Cosimo de' Medici to Palazzo Vecchio in 1540, after he became Grand Duke, the palace continued to be inhabited by the lesser members of the family until 1659, when Ferdinando II sold it to the Riccardi marquises. It was at this time that the palace layout was enlarged and significantly altered. The most important works consisted in the large hall decorated with the frescoes of Luca Giordano that is one of the most significant examples of Baroque architecture in Florence, and in the new entrance staircase built by the architect Foggini. Baroque decorations were added also to the courtyard through the addition of old marbles belonging to the Riccardi collection.

Perhaps the most important section of the palace is still today the Chapel frescoed in 1459 by Benozzo Gozzoli representing the Procession of the Magi. The frescoes explicitly referred to the train of the Concilium that met in Florence in 1439. As a matter of fact many of the personalities portrayed are wealthy protagonists of the time and members of the Medici family.


Since 1972 the exhibition area of Palazzo Medici Riccardi has offered both tourists and visitors a programme of temporary exhibitions dedicated to the major protagonists of modern and contemporary art. For several years now, instead, the exhibition policy has been oriented to stimulating in the public a greater understanding of the historic and artistic context, consequently proposing exhibitions which are consistent with the Renaissance and Baroque identity of the palazzo. Visits to the exhibitions are included in the ticket for entrance to the museum and the Chapel of Benozzo Gozzoli.

Palazzo Medici Riccardi
Facade - Detail
Facade - Detail
Hitch for horses on the facade
The garden
Garden - Detail
The courtyard by Michelozzo
In the courtyard the Orpheus statue
by Baccio Bandinelli
Tapestry room
Luca Giordano Hall
Luca Giordano Hall
Ceiling fresco
Tapestry room
Tapestry room
Tapestry room
Chapel of the Magi
Frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli - 1459
The Procession of the Three Kings - see in landscape mode

Click to enlarge
Fra Filippo Lippi
Madonna with Child - c. 1460
This is the reverse side of the painting by Filippo Lippi (Madonna with Child). It is a drawing by Lippi and appears to be a woman with hints of a moustache.
Gallery of the famous Florentine people
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