The Palazzo Vecchio is a palace the commune and people decided to construct in 1299, a structure to represent security and pride for Florence. Let us not confuse the building though, as it has many names: the Palazzo del Popolo, Palazzo dei Priori, and the Palazzo Ducale, which are all attributed to its various uses over time. Duke Cosimo I de’Medici moved to the Pallazzo Pitti eventually, leaving the Palazzo Vecchio with its current name which means “the Old Palace”. Today, the structure remains a symbol of government. Several prominent designers contributed to the Palazzo, including Arnolfo di Cambio who was the chief designer of the building, with the assistance of Nicola Pisano (Pisano was Cambio’s teacher). Arnolfo di Cambio designed the Duomo of Siena, Santa Croce and the Santa Maria del Fiore. Michelozzo di Bartolomeo Michelozzi, a pupil of Ghiberti, redesigned the courtyard with new columns of cylindrical and octagonal shapes, and intricate designs up and across the pillars (relatively uncommon to see on pillars during this time, until around the Rococo period of the 18th century). Leonardo da Vinci also played a role here, and was commissioned in 1503 to paint a battle scene of Florentine victory on an interior wall, but because of his experimental nature and tendencies, his materials “melted” off of the wall, and other paintings were introduced to replace his.


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