Raphaels and Rubens vie for centre stage in the enviable collection of 16th- to 18th-century art amassed by the Medici and Lorraine dukes in Palazzo Pitti's Galleria Palatina. The gallery, reached via a staircase from the central courtyard, has retained the original display arrangement of paintings (squeezed in, often on top of each other), so can be visually overwhelming – go slow and focus on the works one by one.

Highlights include Fra' Filippo Lippi's Madonna and Child with Stories from the Life of St Anne (aka the Tondo Bartolini; 1452–53) and Botticelli's Portrait of a Woman (c 1475–90) in the Sala di Prometeo; Raphael's Madonna of the Window (1513–14) in the Sala di Ulisse; and Caravaggio's Sleeping Cupid (1608) in the Sala dell'Educazione di Giove. Don't miss the Sala di Saturno, full of magnificent works by Raphael, including the Madonna of the Chair (1511) and Madonna and Child enthroned with Saints (1507–08). Next door, in the Sala di Giove, the same artist's Lady with a Veil (aka La Velata; c 1516) holds court alongside Giorgione's Three Ages of Man (c 1500).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby attractions

1. Palazzo Pitti

0.02 MILES

Commissioned by banker Luca Pitti in 1458, this Renaissance palace was later bought by the Medici family. Over the centuries, it was a residence of the…

2. Appartamenti Reali

0.02 MILES

Palazzo Pitti's Appartamenti Reali are presented as they were c 1880–91, when they were occupied by members of the House of Savoy. The style and division…

3. Museo della Moda e del Costume

0.02 MILES

Few visitors to Palazzo Pitti get as far as this Fashion and Costume Museum, host to various fashion-themed temporary exhibitions.

4. Galleria d'Arte Moderna

0.03 MILES

Forget about Marini, Mertz or Clemente – the collection of Palazzo Pitti's Galleria d’Arte Moderna is dominated by late-19th-century works by artists of…

5. Giardino di Boboli

0.08 MILES

Behind Palazzo Pitti, the fountain- and sculpture-adorned Boboli Gardens – slowly but surely being restored to their former pristine glory thanks to a €2…

6. Tesoro dei Granduchi

0.08 MILES

Exquisite amber carvings, ivory miniatures, glittering tiaras and headpieces, silver pillboxes and various other gems and jewels are displayed in this…

7. Casa Guidi

0.11 MILES

It was on the ground floor of 15th-century Palazzo Guidi, across from Palazzo Pitti, that Robert and Elizabeth Browning rented an apartment in 1847, a…

8. Grotta del Buontalenti

0.12 MILES

This fantastical shell- and gem-encrusted grotto was built by Bernardo Buontalenti between 1583 and 1593 for Francesco I de' Medici; find it in the lower…