Want to retrace Medici history?
Discover how to dive headfirst into the family’s life through the city’s most representative locations.
There are many ways to trace and relive Medici history up close, as the family ruled the city for centuries. The Medici allowed for the creation of wonders still around today, treasures that make Florence one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Like any family history, the story of the Medici family is centered on individuals and their relationships. However, their history is also one of power, politics, great achievements and bitter defeats. Reliving their history is undoubtedly a fascinating and riveting experience.
Medici history through palaces
What better way to explore the Medici than through buildings symbolic of their political power?
Two places intricately tied to the family’s various affairs are Palazzo Vecchio, their “governing” residence until 1565, and Palazzo Pitti across the river, where the family moved under Cosimo I.
The two structures are quite different from one another; however, their spellbinding environments and age-old works of art offer visitors extraordinary experiences… and a few powerful secrets.
Don’t miss the Medici Riccardi Palace, the family’s original residence later passed down to the Riccardi family.
Walking through the rooms of these incredible palaces means retracing the steps of the illustrious Medici that walked these halls for centuries.
Medici history through villas
The Medici left their mark on Florence in its architecture: they played a large role in what we see today and even “designed” the city’s surrounding areas. Indeed, their residences were not limited to palaces in the city center but extended to the nearby countryside, namely the splendid Medici villas that became UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2013.
The family would retire to these villas for recreational purposes, using them as summer homes, hunting villas or as general control centers for the financial activity of the villa’s agricultural areas. Some of these are now private structures used for special events, though fortunately a few residences and gardens are open to visitors, including Villa della Petraia, Villa di Poggio a Caiano, Pratolino Park, the garden of Villa di Castello, Forte di Belvedere and Villa di Cerreto Guidi (whose entrance ticket is covered by Firenze Card).
Medici history through the Medici Chapels
The San Lorenzo neighborhood is the city’s historic Medici district: here, besides the Medici Riccardi Palace, you’ll find the San Lorenzo Basilica, the Laurentian Library and above all, the Medici Chapels.
Designed as the family’s mausoleum, this museum contains elements of extraordinary splendor and magnificence, a building ordered and flaunted by the family in order to represent their power in the city. Here you’ll find several tombs of the family’s chief members, including Cosimo I, Francesco I, Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother Giuliano, not to mention Michelangelo’s incredible sculptures.
Medici history through The Medici Dynasty Show
Want to learn more about the events prior to the fall of the Medici family?
If you’re hoping to relive it all in a passionate and engaging way, then don’t miss The Medici Dynasty Show.
This multimedia theatrical performance tells the history of the ruling family through an enthralling dialogue between the last dynasty heirs: Gian Gastone, the last Medici Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Anna Maria Luisa.
Conducted in English, the performance combines an on-stage performance with multimedia content and offers a truly fascinating and original take on Medici history.
Don’t miss a chance to see it!