Palazzo Vecchio

The Palazzo Vecchio, previously known as the Palazzo della Signoria, Palazzo del Popolo, Palazzo del Priorio and Palazzo Ducale in different periods of its long history, is currently a museum and the town hall of Florence. The Palazzo is made of solid rusticated stonework, and enhanced by a simple clock tower. A copy of the famous David statue by Michelangelo is installed in front of the entrance to the Palazzo, in the Piazza della Signoria. The original David was installed here in 1504 and was only moved to the Galleria dell’Accademia in 1873 to protect it from the elements.

The Palazzo has a long and storied history. The clock tower contains two small cells that once imprisoned Cosimo de’ Medici (the Elder) in 1435 and Girolamo Savonarola, a preacher active during the Renaissance period. In 1540, Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici moved his official seat to the Palazzo Vecchio, known at that time as the Palazzo della Signoria. When he later moved to the Palazzo Pitti, he renamed the Palazzo della Signoria as Palazzo Vecchio (old palace) and commissioned Giorgio Vasari to build the Vasari corridor, an over-ground walkway from the Palazzo Vecchio, through the Uffizi gallery, and over the Ponte Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti.


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