It’s worth taking the short walk across the river to discover this former residence of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Plus, you can explore the many shops, restaurants and bars in the Oltrarno district afterwards!
Find out everything you need to know about visiting Pitti Palace in our guide, including:
- Getting around
- What to see at Pitti Palace
- Pitti Palace history and facts
- Restaurants, bars and stores at the Pitti Palace
- Opening times and prices
The best way to get to Florence’s main attractions, including Pitti Palace, is by train. Regular services from across Tuscany arrive at Santa Maria Novella station, so you can easily visit Florence for a day. Bologna is just 40 minutes away by train, whilst journeys from Arezzo and Pisa take around 1 hour on the fastest routes.
Why not extend your trip to Italy and spend a weekend in Florence to soak up some more Italian culture, history, food and scenery? On the quickest trains from Milan and Rome, you can be in the Tuscan capital in under 2 hours!
Once you arrive in Florence, it’s easy to get to Pitti Palace from Santa Maria Novella. The palace is an 18-minute walk from the station via the Ponte Vecchio. Or take the C4 bus from the Stazione Scalette stop to Pitti, an 11-minute journey.
What to see at Pitti Palace
There are four museums at Pitti Palace, so there’s plenty to see when you visit! You could spend an entire day enjoying everything this enormous palace has to offer, and we’re here to help you plan your visit. These are some of the best things to see at Pitti Palace.
Treasury of the Grand Dukes
Visit the Treasury of the Grand Dukes on the ground floor of Pitti Palace. Once the summer apartments of the Medici, these rooms are full of the family’s treasures, from semi-precious stones to silverware and jewellery. The walls of the summer apartments are painted with 17th-century frescoes by Giovanni da San Giovanni.
In the Palatine Gallery on the first floor, you can see the Medici’s impressive collection of paintings. Discover works by Italian Renaissance masters like Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Tintoretto and the Flemish Baroque painter Rubens. Each room is richly decorated with sculptures and lavish furnishings, complementing the art on display.
Initially, this space was a large, central hall in the summer apartments. The stunning Palatine Chapel was created in 1766 by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Pietro Leopoldo. The chapel’s decorative elements have been enhanced over the years, including the impressive frescoes on the walls and ceiling, added by the painter Luigi Ademollo between 1791-1793.
Explore the fourteen rooms on the first floor of Pitti Palace, known as the Royal Apartments, for an insight into the palace during the 18th and 19th centuries. These lavish apartments are decorated as they were in 1865 when the Royal House of Savoy lived here, including pieces from the Medici and Habsburg-Lorraine collections.
Gallery of Modern Art
Although Florence is known for its rich medieval and Renaissance art collection, the Florentine academy established a ‘modern art’ gallery at Pitti Palace in 1748. The collection centres around Neoclassic and Romantic artworks, the Macchioli school and the Symbolist and Divisionist movements, featuring paintings and sculptures from the 18th century until the first half of the 20th century.
Museum of Costume and Fashion
The Museum of Costume and Fashion is located in a separate building, the Palazzina della Meridiana. Founded in 1983, this museum is dedicated to the history of fashion. Collections include clothes, jewellery and accessories from the 18th century and stage costumes from acclaimed productions of the 20th century.
Once the palace’s private green space, now visitors can take a stroll through the manicured lawns to appreciate the vast size and innovative design of this Renaissance garden. Described as an open-air museum, Boboli Gardens has sculptures and unique architectural features at every turn.
Pitti Palace history and facts
Pitti Palace was built in 1458 by the Florentine banker Luca Pitti. However, work ceased in 1464 as he suffered financial losses when his friend and associate Cosimo de’Medici died. The palace remained unfinished even after Pitti died in 1472, and its original architect is unknown. However, a pupil of Brunelleschi – Luca Fancelli – is widely credited.
Whilst it is named after the man who commissioned it, Pitti Palace is best known for its association with the Medici family. Cosimo I bought the unfinished palace in 1549 and immediately commissioned Giorgio Vasari to enlarge the structure, more than doubling it in size.
The Vasari Corridor was also added, linking the Pitti Palace to the Uffizi and Palazzo Vecchio, via the Ponte Vecchio. This passageway allowed the Medici to move between their residences and government offices quickly and discreetly.
16th century onwards
The Medici didn’t move into the palace until the reign of Francesco I in the late 16th century, after leaving Palazzo Vecchio. Subsequent generations of the Medici lived at Pitti Palace until the last heir died in 1737. It was then passed to the new Grand Dukes of Tuscany, the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.
The Habsburg-Lorraine occupation of Pitti Palace was briefly interrupted in the late 18th century when Napoleon used it as a base. It was then passed to the House of Savoy in 1860 and later served as the Royal Palace of newly united Italy for a short time.
King Victor Emmanuel III donated the palace and its contents to Florence in 1919, and it became a museum. It remains the largest museum complex in Florence, housing over 250,000 works.
Unlike most of Florence’s main attractions, Pitti Palace is situated in the Oltrarno district, across the river. But there’s plenty to see here! Enjoy panoramic views of the city at Piazzale Michelangelo, a 22-minute walk from Pitti Palace, or take a 3-minute walk to the Basilica of Santo Spirito.
Restaurants, bars and shops near Pitti Palace
Admire the façade of this impressive palace over lunch, dinner or a drink at one of the restaurants and bars on the Piazza de’ Pitti. Or find a quieter spot down one of the neighbouring streets to enjoy traditional Tuscan cuisine in a laid-back setting.
After visiting the Treasury of the Grand Dukes at Pitti Palace, why not explore the shops nearby and find some unique treasures of your own? From antiques to ceramics, jewellery, clothing and more, the boutiques and workshops of Oltrarno await you!
Best restaurants near Pitti Palace
Whether you want to grab a sandwich on the go or enjoy a leisurely lunch, these are the best places to eat near Pitti Palace:
- Trattoria de’ Pitti
- Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina
- Alimentari del Chianti
- Lo Sdrucciolo
- Toscanella Osteria
- Il Magazzino
- 5 e Cinque
Check out our dedicated restaurant guide to find more of the best places to eat in Florence.
Best bars near Pitti Palace
Enjoy an aperitivo overlooking Piazza de’ Pitti or go bar-hopping in Oltrarno. These are some of the best spots to try near Pitti Palace:
- Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina
- Bulli & Balene
- Pint of View
- Loggia Roof Bar
- Archea Brewery
- Caffè Notte
Planning a night out in San Frediano and Santo Spirito after visiting Pitti Palace? Our guide to the best nightlife in Florence features more bars, clubs and pubs in this area.
Best shops near Pitti Palace
The Oltrarno district is known for independent boutiques and artisan workshops, so you’re bound to find something special to remind you of your trip. From clothes and leather goods to art and antiques, the best shops near Pitti Palace include:
- Capelli Antonio Gatto
- Pitti Mosaici
- Giulia Materia
- Jennifer Tattanelli
- La Casa Della Stampa di Sarubbi Lorenzo
- Pitti Vintage
- Casini Florence
- 39 Rosso
Looking for more inspiration when it comes to shopping in Florence? Our guide to the best shops in the city has you covered!
Opening times and prices
Pitti Palace is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 08:15 to 18:30. Advance bookings are required if you plan to visit on a Saturday or public holiday.
Regular tickets to Pitti Palace cost €10, giving you entry to the four museums. Reduced tickets cost €2 and are available for EU citizens aged 18 to 25, whilst free tickets can be booked for disabled visitors and children under 18.
The ticket price does not include access to Boboli Gardens, but combined tickets can be purchased for €18. You’ll get entry to Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens and the Uffizi Gallery over five consecutive days – a perfect way to see more of Florence’s attractions for less!
Travelling by train to Florence?
If you're planning a trip to Florence and looking for more information how to travel by train, you've come to the right place! Taking the train to Florence is easy due to the high-speed rail connections operated by Trenitalia and Italo. You can travel to Florence from some of the most popular cities in Italy. Some of the most popular routes include Milan to Florence (1h 50m), Rome to Florence (1h 17m) and Venice to Florence (1h 59m).
Need more information about travelling to Florence by train? Check out our dedicated page to trains to Florence.