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The Palazzo Reale of Pisa

Pisa, Palazzo Reale
Pisa, Palazzo Reale

The Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) of Pisa is a residence of power: built by incorporating pre–existing buildings (including the twelfth–century Torre della Verga dd’Oro – Tower of the Golden Rod) by Francesco I de’ Medici, who awarded the commission to Florentine architect Bernardo Buontalenti in 1583, it replaced the preceding Palazzo Medici located near the church of San Matteo and was from then on the official Pisan seat of the dynasties that successively governed the city. It hosted the Medici first, then the Lorraine, then the Savoy, and was finally ceded to the Italian State with the passage to the Republic.

In the relatively brief Napoleonic period, the palazzo was the urban residence of Élisa and Felice Baciocchi, who appreciated its picturesque position on the banks of the Arno. The two sovereigns were welcomed to Pisa in 1809 with sumptuous celebratory festivities that included a temple built facing the imperial palazzo on the opposite side of the Arno and illuminated with lanterns and fireworks, designed by the painter Raniere Gherardi. In the beginning of the nineteenth century, during Élisa’s reign, one room in the palazzo was frescoed by artists from the workshop of Luigi Ademollo.
Today the palazzo is the seat of the Office for Historical, Artistic and Ethnoanthropological Heritage and for the Architectural and Landscape Heritage of the provinces of Pisa and Livorno. The upper floor of the palazzo houses one of the two National Museums of Pisa, the Museum of the Palazzo Reale, dedicated to the heritage of the courts of the ruling dynasties that resided in these rooms and to local collecting. There one can admire a conspicuous collection of armour from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century (including the historical armour used in the traditional Gioco del Ponte) and a rich collection of paintings, including Raphael’s Miracle of the two hanged men, Rosso Fiorentino’s Rebecca at the well and Bronzino’s Portrait of Eleonora di Toledo.

Palazzo Reale
Lungarno Pacinotti, 46

The Museum is open 9 AM to 2.30 PM; closes Saturday at 1:30 PM
Closed: Tuesday, Sunday and holidays

Admission ticket: full 5.00 euros; reduced (visitors from 18 to 25 years of age and state school teachers) 2.50 euros
Free admission for visitors less than 18 years of age and over 65