The Palazzo Pitti, in English sometimes called the Pitti Palace, is a vast, mainly Renaissance, palace in Florence, Italy. It is situated on the side of the River Arno. The core of the present palazzo dates from 1458 and was originally the residence of Luca Pitti. The palace was bought by the Medici family in 1549 and became the residence of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It grew as a treasure house as later generations amassed paintings, plates, jewelry. In the late 18th century, the palazzo was used as a base by Napoleon. The palace and its contents were donated to the Italian people by King Victor Emmanuel III in 1919, the palazzo is now the largest museum complex in Florence. The principal palazzo block, often in a building of design known as the corps de logis, is 32,000 square metres. It is divided into several principal galleries or museums detailed below, the construction of this severe and forbidding building was commissioned in 1458 by the Florentine banker Luca Pitti, a principal supporter and friend of Cosimo de Medici. The early history of the Palazzo Pitti is a mixture of fact, Pitti is alleged to have instructed that the windows be larger than the entrance of the Palazzo Medici. Besides obvious differences from the architects style, Brunelleschi died 12 years before construction of the palazzo began. The design and fenestration suggest that the architect was more experienced in utilitarian domestic architecture than in the humanist rules defined by Alberti in his book De Re Aedificatoria. Though impressive, the original palazzo would have no rival to the Florentine Medici residences in terms of either size or content. Whoever the architect of the Palazzo Pitti was, he was moving against the flow of fashion. The rusticated stonework gives the palazzo a severe and powerful atmosphere, reinforced by the series of seven arch-headed apertures. The Roman-style architecture appealed to the Florentine love of the new style allantica, work stopped after Pitti suffered financial losses following the death of Cosimo de Medici in 1464. Luca Pitti died in 1472 with the building unfinished, the building was sold in 1549 by Buonaccorso Pitti, a descendant of Luca Pitti, to Eleonora di Toledo. Raised at the court of Naples, Eleonora was the wife of Cosimo I de Medici of Tuscany
Early, tinted 20th-century photograph of the Palazzo Pitti, then still known as La Residenza Reale following the residency of King Victor Emmanuel II between 1865 and 1871, when Florence was the capital of Italy.
A lunette painted in 1599 by Giusto Utens, depicts the palazzo before its extensions, with the amphitheatre and the Boboli Gardens behind. The red stone excavated from the site was used in extensions to the palazzo.
19th-century architectural drawing and plan of the Palazzo Pitti