To get a glimpse into the sumptuous life of Florence’s wealthy and powerful Medici family during the Renaissance, look no further than Medici Riccardi Palace (Palazzo Medici Riccardi). Designed by Michelozzo in the mid-15th century for Cosimo de' Medici, the palace is considered a masterpiece of early Renaissance architecture.
Much of the palace operates as an art museum, and you can tour the richly furnished apartments and libraries; the Galleria, with baroque paintings under the frescoed ceiling by Luca Giordano; and the Chapel of the Magi, with the Procession of the Magi frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli that depict members of the Medici dynasty as part of the procession behind the kings, as well as copies of works by Filippo Lippi—now displayed in other museums. The palace also hosts temporary exhibitions of important art and photography. A visit to the Medici Riccardi Palace is a highlight of any tour of Renaissance Florence or Medici walking tour, both of which also generally include stops at Palazzo Vecchio and Pitti Palace.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Palazzo Medici Riccardi is particularly interesting for history and architecture buffs.
- Due to the Chapel of the Magi’s diminutive size, only 10 visitors are allowed in every seven minutes.
- Private and small-group tours of Renaissance Florence generally require a bit of walking, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and a sun hat.
- The palazzo is accessible to wheelchair users via a secondary entrance on Via Cavour; contact museum staff to enter.
How to Get There
Palazzo Medici Riccardi is located on Via Cavour, just a few minutes’ walk north of Florence Cathedral (the Duomo) or east of the train station.
When to Get There
Florence is one of the most visited cities in Italy and is very crowded much of the year, especially in summer; it’s best to visit during the off-season winter months. Palazzo Medici Riccardi is open year-round; it is closed on Wednesdays.
The Medici Chapels
Just around the corner from Medici Riccardi Palace, the Basilica di San Lorenzo is home to the magnificent Medici Chapels by Michelangelo. The mausoleum was meant to hold tombs for Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brothers Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino, and Giuliano, Duke of Nemours, but only some were finished.