Palazzo Vecchio is in Piazza della Signoria and it has been the seat of the Comune of Florence since 1872.
Inside the Palace there is a museum with works by Michelangelo, Bronzino and Giorgio Vasari.
Initially known as Palazzo della Signoria, it was given the name of Palazzo Vecchio in 1565, when Duke Cosimo I moved to Palazzo Pitti.
For centuries the Palace was the symbol and the political centre of the city.
Designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, it was built in 1299 as the seat of the Priory of the Arts with its elegant structure and the crenellated tower overlooking the city.
In 1540 it became the home of the Medici family: Vasari’s mastery transformed the building into a splendid palace for the grand dukes.
There are masterpieces by Renaissance sculptors in the Palace, such as Donatello’s group of Judith and Holofernes in bronze.
In addition, the Hall of the Fifteen Hundreds (Salone del Cinquecento) is particularly important for the refined frescoes of Eleonora’s Quarters and the study of Francesco I.
Palazzo della Signoria or Palazzo Vecchio underwent various transformations over the centuries: Arnolfo’s palace facing onto the square next to the Loggia dei Lanzi, the first modifications of the republican era, and, as mentioned above, Vasari’s restructuring commissioned by Cosimo I who moved there with his whole family.
Around 1565, Palazzo Vecchio was rather put in the shade by Palazzo Pitti, but once the Lorena had been driven out, it returned to its original splendour and magnificence when it housed the provisional government of the United Italy. For some years Palazzo Vecchio housed the Siviero Collection, which included works recovered after the Second World War.
Today the Hall of the Fifteen Hundreds, the Study of Francesco I and the four apartments where the mayor’s rooms and those of the Comune are situated are open to the public.