In the 16th century, Cosimo I de'Medici undertook some massive restoration works that turned the Palazzo, symbol of republican virtues, into one of the most luxurious and magnificent ducal residences of the period.
Giorgio Vasari, Medici family architect already busy with the construction of the Uffizi, made the existing rooms more functional and luxurious and enlarged the volume of the entire building, taking over the piazza behind it.
The renovated palazzo, with its exceptional look, was the best political propaganda tool the Medici duke could possibly have.
Vasari's most important addition was to the Hall of the 500, on the first floor of the palace, that Savonarola had had built to host the members of the legislative assembly at the end of the 15th century. Here, specifically asked for by Cosimo, Vasari raised the ceiling a good 8 meters, creating a hall of astounding dimensions and grandiose proportions.
The new, amazingly heavy panelled ceiling, was made with 39 panels, painted by Vasari himself and his workshop, illustrating episodes taken from Cosimo's life. In the round at the center of the ceiling, the duke is shown, gloriously triumphant.