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Location: FLORENCE
Piazza della Signoria
Open: 9-19; Sundays and public holidays 8-13. Closed on Saturdays.
Description: Built around 1300, probably to the plans of Arnolfo di Cambio, virtually the symbol of Florence, it is a masterpiece of medieval architecture and the finest public palace in Italy. The Salone del Cinquecento is decorated with paintings by Vasari and his school and group of "I Geni di Vittoria" by Michelangelo. The adjoining study of Francesco I presents works by Vasari, Giambologna and Ammannati. The State Apartments (of Leone X, Eleonora di Toledo, the Elementi and Sale dei Gigli, of the Udienza etc.) contain decorations and numerous works from the XV to XVI centuries. Some of the rooms house the Loeser Collection (see). The courtyard, which was restored by Michelozzo in 1470 and embellished with stucco work and frescoes a century later, has a 16C fountain surmounted by a "Winged babe with dolphin", a copy of the work by Verrocchio. The original is housed in the "Cancelleria" inside the palace.