Well, here’s one of my two favourite museums in Florence (the other is the Bargello).

Palazzo Vecchio is a magnificent edifice in the Piazza della Signoria, a large square just north of the Ufizzi Gallery. This square is always buzzing, with tourists eating at the touristy cafés, and others wandering about taking selfies or roaming in giant packs. Just outside the Palazzo Vecchio are various statues,including a life-size replica of the statue of David, the original of which is down the road in the Academia. In the middle of the square, about 20 m in front of David, is a round metal  plaque to commemorate the spot where the mad monk Savonarola was finally burned at the stake after a short reign of cultural terror ( see the bonfire of the vanities).

Access to the Palazzo Vecchio for wheelies is at the side entrance. The ticket office is just inside this entrance to your left, up a bit of a ramp. Wheelies and one companion get in for free, as usual. Don’t bother to queue, just slide up to the counter and they will help you out. Just below this ticket office is the entrance to the ongoing excavations of a Roman temple. I haven’t checked this out yet, but I believe some of it is accessible. It is also possible to arrange climbs of the tower, including at night, although this is obviously out of bounds to wheelies. Once you have your tix, cross the interior to the entrance. Don’t forget to look in the side annex near David. This is a lovely room with a great view of the tower if you look up.

Up the lift on the first floor, you open into the incredible Salone dei Cinquecento, which along with the Salon del Senado in Venice is one of the greatest rooms I’ve ever been in. Originally the walls were supposed to be frescoed in a competition between Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci used a new technique which he abandoned as unreliable. Michelangelo never got around to doing his bit. The salon was completed instead by the great Vasari. Actually this salon was commissioned by Savonarola, one of the few good things he did before he was immolated. One of the statues in this room is by Michelangelo. The rest are pretty great, especially the one where Hercules is grabbing the other guy’s testicles. The incredible ceiling is also by Vasari. Off to one side up a few steps are Lorenzo de Medici’s old apartments. I expect they will be made accessible one day.

Back up the lift to the second floor, go right when you come out. On the balcony, you get a magnificent view of the salon below. If you continue ( the way narrows momentarily but I can get through in my power chair) you come into wonderful circuit of rooms leading you right around the palace. Just inside the first room, don’t miss looking into the little chapel with sublime frescoes by Bronzino. Other wonders as you wander along are a “death mask” of Dante, allegedly taken from life but almost certainly taken later. This featured quite a bit in Dan Brown’s dodgy novel “Inferno”. In every room, don’t forget to look up. Right around the building in the far corner is a lovely terrace with views over the Arno River. This has a small step which is no problem for me. Another fabulous room is the map room. You’ll see why when you find it. From memory (even though I have been there many times) I think wheelies have to retrace their steps back to the lift. When you get there, head past the lift and up the ramp to discover a few more lovely rooms. Oh, There is also the Vasari corridor, which runs from the Palazzo Vecchio (old palace) across the Arno over the ponte Vecchio to the new palace (Palazzo Pitti). This is not accessible. Best views are from south-west corner of the Ufizzi or the banks of the Arno itself.

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