Palazzo Vecchio: The Salone dei Cinquecento and the Apartments of the Elements
The city’s town hall in Florence is one of the most significant public places in the whole of Italy. Located on the famous Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio is an impressive building that now functions as a museum, but still remains the symbol of the local government, as well as being the official office of the mayor.
A tour in Florence would not be complete without a visit to the city’s town hall, which is one of the most significant public places in the whole of Italy. The town hall in question is of course the Palazzo Vecchio. Located on the famous Piazza della Signoria, this impressive building now functions as a museum, but still remains the symbol of the local government, as well as being the official office of the mayor. Why not take a look inside, and discover some truly impressive rooms…
The Salone dei Cinquecento is undoubtedly one of the grandest and most imposing rooms in the Palazzo Vecchio. At 52x23 metres, it was constructed in 1494 under the commission of Florence’s spiritual leader at the time, Savonarola. The aim was that it would be used as a seat for the Great Council which, due to the increased number of members, needed a very large space. Both Da Vinci and Michelangelo began working on frescoes on the walls, but these frescoes were either unfinished or, in the case of Da Vinci, ruined. The grand, looming hall that you now see today was the work of Vasari, under the rule of Cosimo I, who moved to the Palazzo in 1540 and transformed the Salone dei Cinquecento. The walls are filled with large frescoes depicting battles and military victories, and the ceiling is made up of 39 elaborate panels, all containing paintings.
On the second floor, you will find the Sala degli Elementi, or the Apartments of Elements. Also commissioned by Cosimo I, these beautiful rooms are filled with allegorical frescoes. As well as the main ‘Room of the Elements’, which is dedicated to the four elements of Fire, Air, Water and Earth (which, in Antiquity, were considered to be at the origin of the world), the other rooms also depict frescoes of virtues such as peace and justice, as well as Roman Gods. There is a room dedicated to Opis, the wife of Saturn, and also to the God Jupiter. In the summer months, you can visit the beautiful Terrace of Saturn, which is named after its stunning fresco of Saturn on the ceiling. From here, you can also witness spectacular views of the city.
With one of our private tours in Florence, you can experience all that this incredible Renaissance city has to offer, including all of the main cultural and historical sites like the Piazza della Signoria and the Palazzo Vecchio. If you also want to see more of Florence’s artistic legends, such as Michelangelo and Vasari, the man responsible for the decoration of the Palazzo Vecchio, then join one of our Uffizi tours, and see where true Renaissance art really began.