Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence – for home a Renaissance palace
Palazzo Medici is the house that Cosimo the Elder asked Michelozzo to build since 1444.
His business was going very well and so he could afford to build a house for his family, leaving his previous one that belonged to his in-laws and his wife in the Santa Croce district.
He wanted a new building, but the modern project that Filippo Brunelleschi proposed him frightened him very much. It was too much.
Brunelleschi was perfect for building the family church, the nearby San Lorenzo that Cosimo financed almost entirely by himself, BUT he was not the one for his house.
Cosimo was an extremely intelligent man, careful not to displease anyone. He did not want to draw upon himself the envy of other Florentine families and it was easier to prefer the much quieter Michelozzo rather than the genius of Brunelleschi. Michelozzo was one of the great minds of that amazing period of time: magnificent interpreter of the rules of harmony and balance of the early Renaissance.
Palazzo Medici is the first palace built in the new way and soon became the model for all other buildings.
Here are its most important characteristics:
1. Only 3 levels, focusing on horizontal development;
2. decoration with bugnato a type of stone that is rougher on the ground floor and gets more refined towards the top;
3. different height of floors (higher the ground floor and getting shorter towards the top);
4. public bench all around the building.
What we see today is a building that has changed over the centuries.
The large open arches that gave direct entrance to the beautiful inner courtyard have been closed as well as the narrow and steep staircase which was replaced in 1600 with a much larger, comfortable and representative one.
n 1700 the Palace was enlarged when it was bought by the Riccardi family. At that time the Medici have long lived in their other newer palace: Pitti.
The Palazzo deserves to be visited for the beautiful courtyard and for the Magi Chapel all frescoed by Benozzo Gozzoli (for sure his masterpiece).
Palazzo Medici Riccardi
Open daily except Wednesday from 9.00 at 19.00
Ticket = Euro 4.00