Museo di Palazzo Davanzati

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in Duomo & Piazza della Signoria

Palazzo front, Davanzati.

©Nardia Plumridge/Lonely Planet

Home to the wealthy Davanzati merchant family from 1578, this 14th-century palazzo (mansion) with a wonderful central loggia gives you a view into precisely how Florentine nobles lived in the 16th century. Spot the carved faces of the original owners on the pillars in the inner courtyard, and don't miss the 1st-floor Sala Madornale (Reception Room) with its painted wooden ceiling, exotic Sala dei Pappagalli (Parrot Room) and Camera dei Pavoni (Peacock Bedroom).

The 2nd and 3rd floors of the palace can only be visited by guided tours that run at 10am, 11am and noon on weekdays and at 3pm, 4pm and 5pm during weekends; reservations (by telephone or online) are obligatory. Note the windows in the beautiful Camera delle Impannate are not made from glass – a luxury only nobles could afford in Renaissance Florence – but from waxed cloth panels tacked to the wooden frame. The kitchen is placed on the top floor, to ensure living rooms remained cool and free of unsavoury cooking odours and possible fires.