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- Palazzo Vecchio -

Palazzo Vecchio, Florence Courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio, Florence  

In 1293, after the political success of the guilds, the new Priors wanted to build a monument which would become the most important civic monument in Florence, the Palazzo dei Priori, seat of the Signoria, later called Palazzo Vecchio. According to tradition, the central nucleus of the building was erected by Arnolfo di Cambio between 1299 and 1304.

It has the appearance of a fortress, topped by a huge open gallery, from which rises the slender tower known as the Arnolfo tower and which repeats in the belfry the design of the top of the palace. The two rows of elegant ogival mullioned windows; this is the only measured proportion to the Palace. It was subsequently enlarged by Vasari, in the sixteenth century and by Buontalenti, in the seventeenth century. Palazzo Vecchio, after having been the seat the seat of the town authorities, became the home of the Medici family.

Later it was the seat of the provisional governments (1848-49 and 1859-60), and when Florence was the capital of Italy from 1865 to 1871 it housed the Chamber of Deputies and the Foreign Ministry. It has been the seat of the municipal authority since 1872.