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The Medici Riccardi Palace in Florence

This famous palace of Florence is the first Renaissance building erected in the city in the early Renaissance period. It was commissioned by the lord of Florence Cosimo the Eldest to Michelozzo in 1444. It is said that the patriarch of the Medici family asked Brunelleschi, the architect of the Dome, to design the palace but his project to Cosimo’s eyes looked too elegant and luxurious and therefore the lord of Florence chose the one presented by Michelozzo. It soon became an example of the Renaissance civic architecture and its garden, the “Orto di San Marco”, was renowned for being the favourite place by many artists and scholars who used to study there, discuss and elaborate new ideas, such as the Neo-platonic philosophy. The austere and elegant architecture of the Medici Riccardi Palace seemed to be a new style for its contemporaries since it combined the traditional “pietra forte” with the new Renaissance concepts.

Originally designed as a sort of cube with ten windows for each ground and three big doors in the facade, it was extended during the 17th Century, when the Medici’s family sold it to the Riccardi’s family and they moved to the Pitti Palace.

Today the Palace is open to the public and so it is possible to admire the marvellous chapel designed by Michelozzo where Benozzo Gozzoli painted the monumental Procession of the Magi, and the magnificent “Galleria” created at the end of the 17th Century and decorated by Luca Giordano in accordance with the Baroque style. Last but not least, a rather large part of the Palace is dedicated to house the Riccardiana Library, so unjustly forgotten in many tourist guidebooks and really worth a visit for its marvellous baroque decorations as well as for its aristocratic and old-style appearance.

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