Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici, formerly Palazzo Appiano, is a palace in Pisa, located on the Lungarno Mediceo, about 120 meters away of Palazzo Toscanelli. Today, Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici is the seat of the Prefecture.
The palace was built in the 13th century, on the site of a previous building dating back to the 11th century. The Appiani family, lords of Pisa between 1392 and 1398, lived here until 1446, when the palace was bought by the Medici family.
Lorenzo de’ Medici often stayed there, as he came to the Tuscan coast to cure his frail health. The King Charles VIII of France, guest of Piero di Lorenzo de’ Medici, also known as Piero the Unfortunate, resided in the palace in 1494, when Florence rebelled against Piero and he was exiled from the city.
In 1539, the palace was the residence of Cosimo I de’ Medici. In 1574, Francesco I de’ Medici built a new Medici palace in Pisa, Palazzo Reale, and by 1784, the Medici Palace was sold to Jacopo Finocchietti.
In 1871, the architect Ranieri Simonelli was comissioned by Vittoria Spinola, the morganatic daughter of Vittorio Emanuele II, to restore the palace. The architect transformed the medieval building according to the Gothic style, replacing the ancient windows with the current mullioned windows, and he also built a crenellated brick tower.
The palace was the residence of the morganatic wife of the King of Italy in 1885 and, years later, of the journalist Alessandro D’Ancona, the first director of the newspaper La Nazione di Firenze, a senator and head of the Tuscan liberal movement, who died there in 1914.
HOW TO GET THERE
The palace is located about 1.4 kilometers away from the Pisa train station, or about 20 minutes on foot. The closest bus station is Mediceo, on the bus Lines LAM Verde, 2, 4, 5, 13, 21 and 22, located right in front of the palace.