Commissioned by banker Luca Pitti in 1457, by the time it was done the family fortunes had dwindled and they were forced to sell the palace to the Medicis in 1549. After the Medicis, the palace served as a residence for city rulers, the dukes of Lorraine and even Napoleon. When Florence was named the capital of the Kingdom of Italy in 1865, the Savoy royal family took residence until 1919 when they donated it to the state.
Some debate exists on whether the original palace was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi or his pupil Luca Fancelli. In any case, work continued on the palace for centuries, though rather unusually, the palace’s subsequent additions respected the original architectural vision, thus making it difficult to discern them from the core.
Apart from taking in the magnificent palace itself, the site also houses the Museo degli Argenti (Sliver Museum), the Galleria Palatina (16th to 18th century art collection of the Medicis and Lorraine dukes), the Royal Apartments and the Boboli and Bardini gardens.
Those with the requisite stamina can also tour the Modern Art Gallery, the Porcelain Museum and the Costume Gallery.
The gardens are a good place to run down the batteries on any small children that may be in your company.
Seeing all the rooms, museums and gardens is no small undertaking. If you plan to buy the combo ticket, allot a full day for the effort.