Italy: Palazzo Vecchio P.1 [Secret Passages]

We went on a secret passages tour of the Palazzo Vecchio which allowed us a sneak peek into the corridors that the Medici and other rulers of Florence have used to store hidden treasures and (one can only assume — or perhaps I read too many novels) plan nefarious deeds.

The traditional garb of the lords of Firenze.

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Once all of the doors and paintings were shut we were in a secret little treasure chest (no joke, the room itself is shaped like a treasure chest, the ceiling included.

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The paintings open to reveal… nothing. 

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But at one time they stored hidden treasures, and if you knew the “code” then you could find what you were looking for without opening each one.

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For instance, if on the picture there were symbols referencing dreams, then there might be drugs behind the painting; if the dog in the painting had a purple nose and children were digging in the shore there would be purple shells; if sand was featured it might mean glass.

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The ceiling featured the main elements as well as a picture at either end: one of Cosimo I and the other of Eleonora of Toledo, the Duke Francesco’s mother and father.

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One of the stairways led up to an even smaller room.

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The floor symbolizes the cities that were under the Duke’s rule: Florence, Pisa, and Siena.

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In the Room of 500.  There was a concert going on that echoed all the way up to the rafters.

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On either side of the room were gigantic pictures showing battle scenes.  On one side was the conquest of Pisa and the other the conquest of Siena.

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The ceiling in The Room of 500 began to collapse because of the weight of the paintings so additional trusses were added to support their weight.  Some connect to the roof and others are solely to help support the ceiling.

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