Palazzo Rucellai

Palazzo Rucellai (40)

Built between 1446 and 1457, the Palazzo Rucellai is one of the most ornate buildings in all Florence. The project for the palazzo was entrusted by Giovanni Rucellai to architect Bernardo Rossellino, who followed plans originally designed by Leon Battista Alberti.

Giovanni Rucellai was a writer and thinker who amassed a fortune in the family business. This business was based on importing a very expensive red dye, which could only be produced using materials brought from Majorca. 

Visitors will notice that the architecture of the palace combines lancet windows typical of the Middle Ages with classical columns and cornices. Alberti deliberately placed the pilasters of the façade in ascending order of complexity, beginning with the Doric, continuing with the Ionic, and ending up with Corinthian-style columns. 

In addition, the windows feature a decorative motif composed of three interlocking rings. This is one of the emblems of the Medici. The Medici and the Rucellai families forged an allegiance through the marriage of Bernardo Rucellai with Nannina, the sister of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Specifically, the Loggia found opposite the Palace was built in commemoration of this union. Its architect was once again Leon Battista Alberti. 

On an interesting note, the ground floor of the palace formerly housed a Museum of Photography, which was recently moved to number 15 Largo Fratelli Alinari. This museum houses a very interesting exhibition on 150 years of the city. 

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