It is the most imposing of the city palaces, and dates from 1457 on a probable design by Brunelleschi; in the 16th century the Medici commissioned Ammannati to enlarge it.
The facade, 205 metres long and 36 metres high, consists of rusticated ashlarswith some of the single blocks over two metres long. The only decorative elements are the crowned heads of lions between the ground floor window brackets.
Access to the interior is through the great portal with its central arch leading into a charming Doric atrium by Pasquale Poccianti. This leads to Ammannati’s famous courtyard, at the back of wich is the Grotto of Moses, carved in porphyry by Raffaelle Curradi; antique Roman statues are set under the arcades at the sides, while to the right is the Chapel frescoed by Ademollo, with a magnificent mosaic altar’ and a fine Crucifix by Giambologna.
The grand staircase, lined with antique busts, begins on the same side of the courtyard, on the landing is the Medici Genius by Giambologna, the first floor goes to the vestibule of the Royal Quarters and the Palatine Gallery. On the second floor is the Gallery of Modern Art.
The portico in the right wing of the facade of the palace leads to the Bacchus Courtyard, today’s main entrance to the Palatine Gallery and the Museum of Silverware with the Fountain of Bacchus by Cioli, which portrays the court dwarf of Cosimo I.
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