The Forte Belvedere was commissioned by the Grand Duke Ferninand I and realized by Bernardo Buontalenti over a five year period from 1590 to 1595. Although fortifications serve to protect a city, it was also a demonstration of Florence’s wealth and capabilities and a testement to the power and prestige of the Medici Family.
The location was not just selected for its vantage point over the city but because Ferdinand had officially moved the Grand Ducal Court to Palazzo Pitti. The Fort was built right up to the edge of the Boboli Gardens, allowing the Grand Duke and his family safe and relatively secret passage to safety in the event of unrest in the city.
Inside the fortress, is the charming and elegant Palazzina di Belvedere. The palace, built in 1570 by Bartolomeo Ammannati, was never intended to be used for military purposes. In fact, it was luxurous and comfortable, fit for a Grand Duke in the event that he had to leave his primary place of residence.
It is also rumored that it served as a vault for the Medici’s treasures. Their valuables were stored at the bottom of a well that was well-protected by traps. Any intruder that attempted to force open the lock would set off the lethal trap and survival was most unlikely!
Today, Forte di Belvedere is home to many exhibitions and cultural events as well as a breathtaking view of Florence!
Opening Hours: Open only in conjunction with temporary exhibitions
To find out what’s on, click the Visit the Museum link on their website
Full Price: €3
Reduced price for ages 18-25: €2
*prices can be subject to change based on the exhibition
Campus Florence Tip
The Forte Belvedere offers epic views over the city of Florence. It is only open when there is an exhibition. In general, the exhibitions are modern artists that not only use the internal spaces but often utilize the external spaces for big installations and sculptures. Last year there was a cafe inside the Fort with outdoor seating overlooking the city. The walk to get there is uphill, but pretty and well worth the exercise. Take Costa dei Magnoli or Costa S. Giorgio from close to the Ponte Vecchio.
Via di San Leonardo 1, Florence 50125
Tel: +39 055 288 496