Palazzo Medici Riccardi - Table of Contents   ................   Architecture Around the World

Exterior and Garden
Palazzo Medici Riccardi

Via Camillo Cavour 3, Florence, Italy




Michelozzo di Bartolommeo


Sale to the Riccardi family:
Subsequent Medici  residences:
 1537 - Palazzo Vecchio
1549 - Pitti Palace

February 2020 photos (except where noted)

Facade and side elevation

Palazzo Medici Riccardi originally was a cube shape, with 10 windows across.  Today we see it as a rectangular, with 17 windows.   ...   The building block is divided into stories of decreasing height and capped by cornice and modillions  ...   Rusticated  bottom and middle stories   ...   This rustication effect - from rough and rocky to smooth and delicate - can be seen often in Florence with Palazzo Medici Riccardi having been one of the first palaces to use this style   ...   Details below, starting at the bottom story:

Note  the massive rusticated building blocks   ...   Recall that the Greeks, over a thousand  years earlier, utilized cranes to move and positions huge construction stones   ...   Illustration is from the Cappella dei Magi

" 'Kneeling window''  ('finestra inginocchiata').   The original loggia of the 1400's had more open arches to access the ground floor which were eventually closed off through the use of this technique.  This architectural novelty was designed by Michelangelo in 1517 as a way to close off the arch in an aesthetically pleasing manner.  The name comes from the long 'legs' below the window sill that seem to have knees jutting out."  - Florence Webguide (online Feb. 2020)

Voussoirs   ...   Corbeled pediment

2008 photo   ...   Front entrance   ...  
"The doorways at Palazzo Medici Riccardi are tall to allow horses and carriages through.   ...   Note the stone bench incorporated into the exterior of the building, a place for people to sit while waiting for their turn to go in a speak with Cosimo."
- Florence Webguide (online Feb. 2020)

2008 photo  
Additional entrance   ...   Detail below:

2008 photo  
Wrought iron
  transom light  ...   Nail-studded double door

As the building rises, the second level is smoother, bricks (really stucco work) are smaller, and the building takes on a lighter look.
Medici crest/emblem:  five red balls and one blue above, on a gold shield, decorate numerous buildings all over Florence and Tuscany-any palazzo, church or monument to which the Medici had connections or that was financed using Medici money

The top level of the building has a delicate refined facade, providing a light finish to the exterior   ...   Arcade window

Overhanging cornice   ...   Fluted molding   ...  Modillions   ...   Rosettes alternating with modillions    ...   Dentil molding


"Another part of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi to have remained intact from the 1400's is Michelozzo's courtyard.

"This area, with its 
Corinthian columns and vaulted [aisle] ceilings, was the fulcrum of the building around which all other activity was organized during Medici times.

"Looking through the main entrance to the palace, the courtyard allows you to see from the entrance door through to the back garden, giving a sense of openness and welcome.

"This is where Cosimo met with the citizens of Florence to discuss affairs, where the family's large banquets were held, and where shows, weddings and celebrations were organized." - Florence Webguide (online Feb. 2020)

Imitating a Classical Roman house, the main entrance opens into a private courtyard   ...   
Colonnaded court clearly shows the architect's debt to Brunelleschi., closely resembling the latter's Ospedali degli Innocenti. This "cortile," or loggia, was the first of its kind and was to have a long line of descendants in Renaissance domestic architecture.    ...  
One of three elevations featuring leaded glass windows at the top, arcade windowsroundels, friezes with sgraffito art and sculptured medallions, and colonnaded arcade

Roman lattice leaded glass windows,...    Friezes with sgraffito art  featuring bellflowers and palmettes

Arcade windows    ...   Friezes with  sgraffito art and sculptured medallions

Roundels and arcade window

Frieze sgraffito art and sculptured medallions, detailed below:

Medici crest/emblem:  five red balls and one blue above, on a gold shield, decorate numerous buildings all over Florence and Tuscany-any palazzo, church or monument to which the Medici had connections or that was financed using Medici money

Sgraffito    ...   Top: ribbons supporting festoon 

Medallion: centaur shouldering a basket   ...  Boar head on pole

Composite capital   ...   Note smooth Roman style shaft


Lemon garden

Riccardi emblem/crest

Stone mosaic pathway   ...   Fleur-de-lis is City of Florence emblem   ...   Key is the
Riccardi emblem


Hercules with Nemean lion skin

Nemean lion skin

Opposite end of the garden (no fountain)

Stone mosaic pathway    ...   2 details below:

Stone mosaic pathway

Photos and their arrangement 2020 Chuck LaChiusa
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