History of Palatine Gallery, Pitti Palace

The Palatine (of the palace) Gallery hosts some of the most outstanding collections of European masterpieces of the 16th and 17th centuries, with eleven of Raphael’s most famous works, sixteen paintings by Andrea del Sarto, fifteen by Titian, ten by Rubens, three by Caravaggio and many others by prestigious artists. It is also the most imposing picture gallery, located in the most prestigious part of Pitti Palace (the front), which has preserved almost intact the original layout realized between the last decades of the 1700s and 1834.

The Palatine Gallery and Royal Apartments occupy the entire first floor of Pitti Palace, which was the residence of the Medici dynasty, then of the Habsburg-Lorraine one and lastly of the House of Savoy, hosting the King of Italy from 1860 to 1919. The lavish Gallery was founded between the end of the 18th century and the first decades of the 19th century by the Habsburg-Lorraine family, who hung about 500 masterpieces in the ceremonial rooms chosen from the main Medici’s collections. It is an impressive selection, which includes the largest concentration of paintings by Raphael in the world of, as well as invaluable works by Titian, Tintoretto, Caravaggio and Rubens. The paintings in their lavish frames entirely cover the walls of the rooms and are enriched by sculptures, vases and tables with semi-precious stone inlays, typical of 17th-century galleries. The sensational series of frescoes by Pietro da Cortona for Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinando II de' Medici, realized between 1640 and 1647 in the “Planet Rooms”, adds to the unique charm of the Gallery, where every work of art is enhanced by the setting and the furnishings.