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“Ancient Underground Roman Theater”

Museo di Palazzo Vecchio
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Photography Bike Tour of Florence
Ranked #32 of 657 things to do in Florence
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Palazzo della Signoria, better known as Palazzo Vecchio, has been the symbol of the civic power of Florence for over seven centuries. Among the works of art safeguarded in the museum: the Cortile di Michelozzo; Michelangelo’s celebrated Victory in the Salone dei Cinquecento; Donatello’s Judith in the Sala dei Gigli; the private rooms of the Medici court and among these the marvellous Cappella di Eleonora, the chapel with paintings by Agnolo Bronzino.
Reviewed April 27, 2012

I found this on a website I use for reserving tickets to museums and other attractions = Weekend in Italy. The Roman Theater of Florentia was buried under building projects and only recently discovered with an expansion of the Palazzo Vecchio.
There is a detailed description on their website but it really sounded intriging so I booked 2 tickets for this 30 minute tour. You can only do it thru a reservation but... I should have wondered why it was only that short of a time.
They are excavating ongoing, so perhaps it would be worthwhile to wait as there was not a whole lot to see. The tour guides intro lasted 15 minutes alone!
It is very ancient and things excavated have been reported to be from the middle ages.
But I was a bit disappointed and would recommend waiting for the actual theater to be exposed.

Thank florenceMinnesota
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 10, 2012

Cheap to enter.. You can spend at least half a day here seeing how the Medici family lived. Probably the best value museum in Florence

Thank JackieWilson3333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2012

This Trip Advisor webpage is an error as the main webpage for the same attraction exists - it's title is 'Palazzo Vecchio'.

My review on that webpage adds video and photos (I don't want to duplicate them !).


Vecchio Palace is my '2nd place' attraction in Florence (it was 1st until 4 days into my visit when I visited the Palatina Gallery in the Pitti Palace).

You can't really miss seeing the palace, since it is right next door to the 'Uffizi' gallery which will undoubtedly be visited. In the same vein as the Palatina Gallery, which is a real gem 'hidden' inside the decidedly ugly frontage to the massive Pitti Palace, the beauties inside Vecchio Palace are not especially obvious as the exterior of the building is again not that attractive, at least it does have some interest value with a tall square turret and castling/arches, but the architecture doesn't set the world alight.

Everything changes once you go inside....

I am compiling an extensive Trip Advisor 'Trip List' for my recent 6 full-day visit to see the sights of Florence. Please fell free to access it via my TA Profile - I hope it is of interest and use to you and I hope all of my individual reviews/photos/videos get posted properly as I know from past experience that the Trip Advisor submission process sometimes, incorrectly, 'blocks' them despite me being a so-called 'Senior Contributor'.....

Just before covering my personal views of the gallery, please note that as official information sources can change and the Internet links at the top of each attraction webpage on Trip Advisor can be wrong (or even absent !) I deal with visitor information/ticketing etc in the dedicated section for the attraction in my TA Trip List. This is because I have sole-control over that, can add Internet links and can edit/update it with ease to reflect changes (reviews cannot be amended after they're posted). It might also contain photos/video links if they fail to get posted with this review or on this webpage....

I was not only bewitched by the magnificent room decorations and delightful collections of artefacts on show in Vecchio Palace, but also the quality of the visual-aids present in some of the rooms which added immensely to the viewing and educational experience. Do note that, unusually, flash-free photography is allowed.

You can see a certain amount of the interior for free, as the ground floor area is open to all - it also houses the ticket office. The paid-for entrance is up a wide staircase and leads you into the vast 'Hall of the Five Hundred'. What you see here is most impressive, with a collection of truly massive paintings adorning the walls, a large collection of life-size statues AND (most notably) a wonderfully decorated ceiling comprising a square 'patchwork' of large, framed, paintings; it looks like a painting-crammed wall of an art gallery !

Whilst still being investigated, the esteemed history existing in this room may include a hidden Leonardo....

As you make you way to the exit door leading to the remainder of the rooms, which are smaller but just as beautifully decorated, don't miss the 'sneak peek' you can get into the stunningly sumptuous 'Private Study of Francesco I' situated in the far corner (bookable tours are available but understandably popular, so unlike me book/enquire early to avoid disappointment !).

From then on the palace tour consists of a series of ever-smaller rooms, starting with still quite large rooms with extremely ornately decorated high-ceilings; I would say that most of the beauty in the remaining rooms is upwards, with a smaller proportion of attractive wall decorations and artefacts on show.

If it were practically possible, the best way to view Vecchio Palace would actually be laid on your back being pushed around on a flat trolley since so much of the beauty is on the ceilings !

Like the Palatina Gallery, visitor information is copious and extremely well-presented (even the 'top' attractions don't get this kind of treatment - Uffizi hang your head in shame...). You not only have lecterns with annotated room plans but, most notably, the other star of the palace gets an interactive video display.

This is on the 2nd floor and is 'Eleonora's Chapel', a small but quite beautifully adorned room. You can't go into it, but instead just outside is large LCD interactive touchscreen unit which allows you to pan around, in all directions, footage taken inside the chapel PLUS you can change the display 'spectrum' - quite excellent.

I've added some photos to my review and also some HD video to this webpage (I hope they get posted by TA...) showing some of the decorations (I often video ceilings as it's usually the only way to get complete coverage !) and example snippets from that interactive video display.

Like the Palatina Gallery, after my visit I thought it worthwhile getting the pricey, but extensive Official Guide @ EU12 - these were the only 2 attractions I did this for. It is a tall/thin paperback which has a large number of full-colour photos and double-page spreads for the most impressive presentations.

*** Do note that it isn't sold in the Vecchio Palace (as there is no shop), instead go to the very well-stocked Uffizi shop which sells it for them. I didn't have to queue to get to the shop, instead I just asked at the main entrance and I was let me through to it as it is away from the gallery entrance. I also saw it in a few shops, but it wasn't necessarily the English edition....

I've added a photo showing what the book looks like, but if it isn't posted by TA I will add a link to it accessed via my TA Trip List....

We all have different tastes, but I do urge you to visit this Palace and not get overly distracted by the so-called 'top' attractions of the Uffizi/Accademia (the latter being arguably a 'one-hit wonder' by virtue of it containing the 'Statue of David').

The exterior appearance doesn't exactly provoke you to go inside, but once you do you will not be disappointed. The ceiling decorative work is especially beautiful and a number of the rooms are very big - the main hall is vast and quite magnificent. This is all topped-off with superior presentational and informative aids to enhance your visit.

Like the Palatina Gallery in the Pitti Palace, Vecchio Palace is a 'must see'.

3  Thank LPWilliams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2012

See where the Medici ruled and actually lived. LOVE the rooms painted by Bronzino for Eleanora and the MAPS Room.

Thank tuscanpro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 8, 2012

For those who insist on a list of "must sees" - put this at the top of the list.

For 700 years this has been the heart and soul of Florence. It was built to protect the quaisi-republican government of Florence from the nobles, and it was the first "civic" building - meaning for the people, not for some robber baron or for the church, to have been built in Europe in 1,000 years.

This little city poured its treasure into the Palazzo Vecchio and made it one of the most spectacular buildings in the world. Of particular note are the splendid Sala d'Udienza, with its ceiling and doorway by Giuliano and Benedetto da Maiano, and the spectacular room next door, the Sala dei Gigli, with more work by the Maiano brothers, frescoes by Ghirlandaio, and, above all, the stupendous portrait of Judith and Holofernes by Donatello.

Beyond that is the jaw-dropping Sala delle Carte Geographiche - the map room - which was the 16th century's equivalent of the White House situation room. It's where the Medici grand dukes tracked developments around the world, and it shows better than anything else I know how this city reached out and touched the rest of the planet.

Of course you've also got to see the stupendous Salone dei Cinquecento, the 16th century chamber for the city council, and the Studiolo of Francesco I, and the apartments of Eleonora, and the wonderful loggia with its views of the city and the Arcetri hills, and, if possible, try to see the Sala dei Dugento - the current city council chamber, which is usually closed to the public, but is one of the most beautiful rooms in the world.

1  Thank Uncletomaso
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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