The Courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio
Designed by Michelozzo and decorated by Vasari, it will be restored in 2021 thanks to the contribution of the Kering Group
Michelozzo's courtyard is the foyer of the amazing theatre that is Palazzo Vecchio. Breathtakingly beautiful, it was designed by Michelozzo in 1453: the famous architect replaced the pillars with cylindrical and octagonal columns and then built the loggia. In 1556 Cosimo I asked Giorgio Vasari to make this space even more spectacular, on the occasion of the wedding of Giovanna of Austria to Francesco I de' Medici.
The lunettes decorating the upper part of the portico depict the insignia of the churches of Florence as well as the symbols of the powerful guilds of arts and crafts. In the panels below, on the other hand, views of some of the cities of the Habsburg Empire have been painted to pay homage to Joan of Austria. The cities depicted are Prague, Passau, Stein, Klosterneuburg, Graz, Freiburg im Breisgau, Linz, Bratislava, Vienna, Innsbruck, Eberndorf, Constance, Neustadt and Hall. The vaults are adorned with grotesque decorations.
The stucco work on the courtyard columns was entrusted to Pier Paolo Minoccio da Forlì.
A fountain was erected in the centre to replace the old well, designed by Vasari: a wide octagonal base, with the last two steps round and a porphyry column supporting a marble basin. The oldest bronze statue of the Putto with dolphin by Andrea del Verrocchio (c. 1470) was placed on the fountain in 1557. It was moved to the second floor of the palazzo in 1959 and replaced in the courtyard by a copy.
The Kering Group and its President François-Henri Pinault will support the renovation of the lighting system in the courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio. The work will begin in the next few months and will continue throughout 2021. "As I said a year ago when I was awarded the Fiorino d'Oro, Florence and Tuscany have a special significance for me and for the Group," said François-Henri Pinault. "This is why we have decided to contribute to the enhancement of one of its many wonders, Palazzo Vecchio, the symbol of Florence and its cultural tradition and artistic splendour.
"When we think of a place to invest in craftsmanship and management skills," concluded Pinault, "this territory is at the top of our preferences, because it has always offered us a mix of the highest level."