Florence travel guide

Dear Grand Duke, I write to you...

Perhaps not everyone knows that in the Uffizi there is a special door next to which there is a slot in the marble that the Grand Duke had put to receive letters from citizens with requests for help or complaints.

An innovative system to be informed personally and demonstrate its closeness to the citizens. The architect was Bernardo Buontalenti, a trusted artist of the Medici. Very particular is the upper part of the door, with the tympanum broken and the two halves inverted to obtain a greater dynamism and the opening in the middle that allows the light to filter inside.

Pietro Leopoldo Habsburg-Lorraine, who succeeded the Medici, also wanted to be informed about the public and private affairs of his citizens. He thus had a slit opened in the thick ashlars (stones) of the facade of the Pitti Palace, at the time called the palace of residence, like that of the Uffizi.

The request was placed inside a small room where only the Grand Duke could enter and where he took refuge to read in all privacy.

Visiting the Treasury of the Grand Dukes in the Pitti Palace, you can see the entrance door in one of the beautifully frescoed walls.

The hole had been plastered over and traces of it had been lost until the restoration that brought it to light.

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