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13.03.2014
Nothing says old money like a piano and a room hidden behind warm wood floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.
I agree to Shutterstock's Website Terms, Privacy Policy, Licensing Terms and to receive emails that I can opt out of at any time. All plans come as a Standard license, and can be upgraded to an Enhanced license at any time. Palazzo Vecchio, as is the case with all medieval and Renaissance palaces, has several secret passages. Sovereigns, court members, or simply the rich and powerful who used to live in these palaces always needed escape routes and private spaces in which they could stay hidden.
These escape routes were needed for security reasons—conspiracies and plots against them were quite common, and these ancient palaces were so big that their inhabitants needed a number of ways to leave the building, stay out of reach of their soldiers, or be able to hide in a safe place. Furthermore, during the Renaissance and medieval times, the concept of privacy was virtually unknown.
Rich people as well as poor people spent their entire lives surrounded of dozens of other people while going about their everyday activities: dressing, washing up, waking up, and even sleeping. Having secret passages was also a way to have access to studioli and tesoretti, the only rooms where the most powerful and lucky people could be alone, dedicating themselves to private matters.


Studioli and tesoretti were very small rooms where the head of the household usually kept some key documents, much loved and precious small objects, as well as collections of rare and odd items.
These rooms were also small so that their owners could enter them alone—without guards?seeing the border of the room also during the night at the candle light, checking that nobody was there.
These rooms usually had at least one main entrance and one secret exit, again to be used to escape in case of danger.
The Studiolo of Francesco I, son of Grand Duke Cosimo and later Grand Duke himself, for example, has one entrance plus two secret passages, one leading to the cellars and one upstairs, leading to the Tesoretto of Cosimo I, his father’s private room. This room, so hidden that it was only rediscovered at the beginning of the twentieth century, has one entrance and an escape route leading to the cellars.
Private rooms were usually only for men, but Duchess Bianca Cappello, paramour and second wife of Francesco I, was so loved and smart that she also had a private study in Palazzo Vecchio. Another secret passage is the one that leads from the bedroom of Cosimo I right on the ground floor, next to a secondary exit of the Palace. Florence Inferno is a blog about the Florentine mysteries, symbols, and places that are mentioned in Dan Brown’s latest novel Inferno, and much more about the city. Everyone who signs up gets full access to our entire library, including our curated collections.


Our Standard license allows you to use images for anything, except large print runs over 500,000+ or for merchandising.
Once you have downloaded your image, you have life-long rights to use it under the terms of the license purchased. We also offer a guided Inferno walking tour, which follows the footsteps of Robert and Sienna, as well as an an eBook with an audio version.
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If at any time you're unsatisfied with your experience with us, you can cancel your subscription. A number of wings are currently not in use, and some secret passages were walled in through the centuries.



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