Palazzo Vecchio, which means Old Palace, is the town hall of Florence and it stands in Piazza della Signoria. It’s a cross between a castle and palace with turrets and battlements on the outside and impressive painted palatial rooms on the inside. It was originally constructed as the home of the ruling Medici dynasty.
Although there is a museum here, it was the building itself you will fall in love with. There are a range of tours you can take and we opted for the one that includes access to the roof walkway too for some terrific views ofFlorence. You also see the huge ballroom, the fascinating map room and the beautifully painted private chapel. Palazzo Vecchio became less important to the Medici’s when the new Pitti Palace was built over the river and on your tour, remember to look out for the wooden doors in the same room as the chapel which mark the entrance to the Vasari Corridor. This is a purpose built private walkway which links the two palaces over the rooftops ofFlorence. You cannot enter the Vasari Corridor from Palazzo Vecchio. Tours of the corridor are only available from the next door Uffizi Gallery and you have to be part of a specific tour like the “Vasari Corridor Walking Tour” to see it.
General admission at Palazzo Vecchio gives you entry and a self guided tour. However, we’d recommend taking one of the guided tours as you’ll get much more out of your visit and you get to go to places that are not on the self guided tour. Our tour guide was superb. Her knowledge of the building was vast and she explained all the rooms we entered in a really accessible way. Her English was very good and one of the highlights for us was leaving the public areas and climbing to the roof terrace.
The other guided tour we’ve heard great things about is the one that concentrates on secret passages and hidden rooms. There are also tours which concentrate on the frescoes at Palazzo Vecchio.
For basic admission to the town hall, buy your tickets from the main ticket office, but to experience one of the special tours, ask at the tours desk first. Most guided tours are the same price as general admission. Palazzo Vecchio is open daily from 9am to 7pm but closes early at 2pm on Thursdays. Adult admission is 6 Euros (2011 prices)
Location & Contact
Address: Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, Firenze, Italia
Tel. +39 055 2768325
More on Palazzo VEcchio
Hotels near Palazzo Vecchio – Best price guarantee from Hotel.com
Vasari Corridor Access – Walking tour
Palazzo Vecchio – Florence Museums official website
Palazzo Vecchio – Wikipedia
Florence City Guide – From our sister site Free-City-Guides.com
More Things To Do In Florence – From our Tours & Activities pages
Florence Guide Books – Amazon.co.uk