Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens
Recent renovations at this sprawling Renaissance-Mannerist palazzo have opened up archives, grottoes, and sights that had been closed years. Among the vast complex of museums and galleries, art lovers should head straight to the Palatine Gallery, housing works by Raphael, Titian, Rubens, and Caravaggio, then wander the opulent Royal Apartments, once home, in succession, to the Medici, the Lorraine Grand-Dukes, and the 19th century Italian Royal Family. The Gallery of Modern Art provides a dose of Italian impressionists like Giovanni Fattori. The Costume Museum is Italy’s largest fashion collection, an archive of 6,000 historic pieces, including troves donated by Emilio Pucci and Gianfranco Ferré, with frequent exhibitions of current fashions. In the Boboli Gardens, visit the restored Grotta Buontalenti, a fake cavern network containing artworks, frescoes, and water displays (entrance at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, and 4pm), then climb to the rococo Kaffeehaus to admire one of Florence’s best views.