Medici guest rooms
There is some rooms of Palazzo Vecchio that are often overlooked by tourists and tourist guides. It’s the Medici guest rooms, where the Grand Dukes of Tuscany hosted ambassadors and important people visiting Florence. Also known as the Quartieri Monumentali, these rooms are close to the Hall of the 500 and, at first sight, they look empty. That’s because the Medici were great hosts: furniture was accurately choosen each time a guest came to Palazzo vecchio, most of the times they were pieces coming from the country of origin of the guest. One thing the Medici wanted the guest to know was how great they had been in the past: probably because the origin of the Medici family, not aristocratic, was a problem for Cosimo I Grand Duke of Tuscany. To solve the issue, Vasari and his workshop decorated these rooms with frescoes representing episodes of the history of the Medici family. Each room is dedicated to an important member of the family and generally only three rooms are visible, as more of them are used as offices (Palazzo Vecchio hosts the Municipality offices). You won’t miss the room dedicated to Giovanni de Medici Pope Leo X, because you’re forced to cross the room, so I will concentrate on the other two.
Room of Cosimo the Elder
This is the first of the Medici guest rooms, easy to skip this room when you leave the Hall of the 500; you need to go immediately to left through a narrow short corridor. The room is dedicated to the ancestor of the same name of the first Grand Duke of Tuscany. Cosimo de Medici “The Elder” was basically the first medici to rule Florence, even though his power was unofficial. Frescoes on the ceiling:
Cosimo explains the young Santi Bentivoglio his origins so that he can rule Bologna.
Room of Lorenzo the Magnificent
If you skipped the room of Cosimo the Elder, you have a second chance to visit this room from the room dedicated to leo X, through a door on the left. It’s dedicated to Lorenzo de Medici “The Magnificent”, grand-son of Cosimo the Elder. Another great patron of arts, Lorenzo also was an unofficial ruler of Florence. Frescoes on the ceiling:
Lorenzo with philosophers and scholars: Lorenzo continued to sponsor the neo-platonic academy founded by Cosimo The Elder. Many of the scholars at the academy had an influence on artists like Botticelli and Michelangelo.
Lorenzo goes at the meeting of Cremona, very important to keep peace in Italy. The meeting took place in 1483, with Lorenzo de Medici discussing with the Dukes of Milan, Urbino, Ferrara and Mantua and the King of Naples. Not bad for an unofficial ruler!