Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Firenze

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The palace of the De’ Medici Family has a troubled history.

When Filippo Brunelleschi presented his project of a palazzo to Cosimo De’ Medici, the latter considered it to be too fancy and gave up the idea.

Then came the draft by Michelozzo Michelozzo, Donatello’s pupil, but this time the Florentines said ‘No’ to what at the time must have seemed an urban mess in the San Lorenzo district.

Finally, the works began with the erection of the famous ashlar walls (with protruding stones), the small and narrow windows with grates, heavy doors, all aimed at intimidating everyone who passed or entered the building.

However, beyond the heavy door, the building takes on a much kinder style, with a courtyard that is a real open-air museum with sarcophagi, inscriptions and statues. 

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In 1659, Gabbriello Riccardi, Marquis of Chianti, became the owner of Palazzo Medici and sold it to the Lorenas, the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, in 1814. After many renovations, it became the seat of the administrative offices and headquarters of the Interior Ministry, in the period when Florence was capital of Italy, between 1865 and 1870.

Since 1874, the Medici Palace is the seat of the Province of Florence and also a museum with works such as the Magi Chapel with frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli.

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