The New International Encyclopædia/Pitti Palace
PITTI PALACE. A celebrated Florentine palace of the Early Renaissance, now used as a royal residence. It is the largest palace except the Vatican in Italy, and one of the most imposing in the world. A typical Florentine palace of the fifteenth century, part fortress, part residence, it became a model for such structures. The imposing character of the façade is due to the use of rough-hewn stone, giving a massive effect, and to the simple and harmonious proportions of the three stories. This effect is heightened by its situation upon a hill on the left bank of the Arno; behind it are the beautiful Boboli Gardens.
The palace was designed in 1440 by Brunelleschi for Luca Pitti, then chief magistrate of the Republic. Brunelleschi lived to complete the first Story and after Luca's fall the building was not resumed until the palace was purchased by the ducal family and made their residence. In 1568 Ammanati was employed to make a new design to replace Brunelleschi's lost plan. To him is due the celebrated court of the palace—a rather unfortunate attempt to use rustic work with pilasters. The wings of the façade date from 1620, being an addition to Brunelleschi's more simple plan, and the building was not completed till 1839.
Within the palace, and open to the general public, is one of the most important collections of paintings in the world, although numbering but 500 specimens. It is especially rich in Florentine masters of the fifteenth century, and possesses fine examples of Andrea del Sarto, Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, besides six of the very best Raphaels. Other European schools are represented by Dürer, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyek, Murillo, and Velazquez.