by Melinda Gallo

Palazzo Vecchio

I can't even count the number of times I've been to the Palazzo Vecchio to change my residenza (residency) or to get a new carta d'identità (ID card). But, recently, I've had to go to see if my certificato di matrimonio (wedding certificate) has been sent by the Italian Consulate in the US to the ufficio matrimoni (Office for Marriages) so that we can get our matrimonio transcribed so that we can be officially married in Italy.

Living in Florence :: Palazzo Vecchio

I have even visited the cortile di Michelozzo in the Palazzo Vecchio many times to admire the frescoes and I had quickly seen the Salone dei Cinquecento when I went to the Palazzo Vecchio for Alessandro's friend's matrimonio (wedding) because another one of Alessandro's friend told me that I had to see it because it was so spectacular. And, he was right. The Salone dei Cinquecento had been in my mind each time I passed the Palazzo Vecchio, but I never had time to go back.

Today when I went to the ufficio matrimoni to check on the status of my certificato di matrimonio, I decided to visit the Palazzo Vecchio when I was told that it still hadn't arrived.

I noticed the sign that said that I had to go to the biglietteria (ticket office) to buy tickets before heading up the two flights of stairs to visit the Salone dei Cinquecento.

I walked up to the sportello (counter) and said, "Ho la tessera di Amici degli Uffizi. (I have a Amici degli Uffizi card.)" "Non l'accettiamo. (We don't accept that.)," he responded. I handed him my money and then said, "Sono anche residente a Firenze. (I'm also a resident of Florence.)" He told me that entrance is free for residents only the last Saturday of every month, which was last Saturday. After he handed me the biglietto (ticket) and my change, I walked toward the stairs again near the cortile di Michelozzo to go to the Salone dei Cinquecento.

I walked around the Salone dei Cinquecento, which was rather empty. I ran into only one other couple and a group of students sitting down listening to a tour guide explaining the salone.

I hadn't read anything about the Palazzo Vecchio before my visit today, so I was happily surprised when I learned that there was more to visit besides the Salone dei Cinquecento. I followed the signs to visit the other rooms and admire the art that wasn't only hanging on the wall, but the frescoes on the ceilings as well.

There were only a few people walking around, so it was very peaceful inside. I felt I had the time to examine all the pieces that interested me. I read the signs that described each room without feeling rushed.

I took a few pictures, my favorite one is the one I took from one of the rooms, Sala dei Gigli (Room of the Lilies), that had a view of the Duomo. It was a treat to see the Duomo from the inside of the Palazzo Vecchio because I didn't think we were high enough to see it.

There was so much to see in the Palazzo Vecchio that I will have to go back another day, possibly the last Saturday of the month, to spend more time to appreciate each room and its contents even more.

I was happy that I took some time out of my day to visit the Palazzo Vecchio because in my mind it has become an administrative building and not a monument to visit besides the cortile di Michelozzo.

I was pleased to tour the Palazzo Vecchio to remind myself that some of the most beautiful buildings in Florence can be functional and still be full of history and beauty. The Palazzo Vecchio is a masterpiece and definitely deserves a more proper visit to better understand and appreciate it.

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