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The history of Palazzo Pitti began when Filippo Brunelleschi presented Cosimo de Medici with a project to build a grand palace, though the project was rejected for being too ostentatious. Legend has it that, in response, an angry Brunelleschi decided to propose the same design to Lucca Pitti, great rival of the Medici, who accepted it as a means of outdoing his competitor.
Costruction then began in 1457. However, Lucca Pitti never lived to see the finished palace and his successors went bankrupt attempting to complete the project. For this reason it was finally sold in 1549 to Eleanor of Toledo, wife of Cosimo I. Despite all efforts, then, the palace ended up in the hands of the Medici, who extended it and made it their home for some 200 years.
The Palazzo Pitti currently houses a several museums where visitors will find a series of valuable collections that formed part of the huge private collection of the Medici family.
The most important part of the building is that which includes the Palatine Gallery, which itself houses a magnificent collection of paintings. These tableaus are arranged the same way they were at the time the Medici and do not follow any chronological or stylistic order.
One of the most interesting rooms in the Galleria is the Sala di Venere, which features the ceiling fresco by Piero da Cortona. Moreover, in the centre of the room you will see the beautiful statue "Venus Italica", by Antonio Canova. Visitors should also pay special attention to one of the most beautiful paintings of the room: "Portrait of a Woman", by Titian.
Visitors who wish to see another great work by this artist should also take in the Sala di Apollo, which houses the "Portrait of a Young Man with Grey Eyes", considered one of the finest pieces in the Galleria.
Those who visit the Sala di Marte should pay attention to the ceiling, decorated with a series of highly realistic battle scenes. This room also features the magnificent "Consequences of War", painted by Rubens in 1638. This painting is clearly an anti-war allegory of the Thirty Years' War in Europe.
Also, do not forget to visit the Sala di Giove, which formerly served as the throne room. Visitors here will have the opportunity to see a beautiful portrait by Rafael: "La Donna Velata". Also in this room you will find the superb "Pietà" by Fra Bartolomeo and "Saint John the Baptist" by Andrea del Sarto.
Don't forget, the Galleria also houses works by other major artists the likes of Tintoretto, Perugino and Velázquez.
That said, we also recommend some of the other museums housed the palace. One of these is the Museo degli Argenti, or Silver Museum, which features a series of luxurious rooms with collections of silverware, vases and jewellery that previously belonged to the various Dukes and Princes.
In addition, the Galleria d'Arte Moderna, located on the second floor, features 30 rooms dedicated to late 18th- to early 20th-century painting. For its part, the Carriage Museum will give visitors and idea of the sumptuous lifestyle led by the Dukes at that time. And finally, check out the Galleria del Costume, where a lavish display of costumes and textiles worn in the court during the 18th and 19th centuries awaits the visitor.
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