The current aspect of Palazzo Reale, (Royal Palace) home of the dynasties ruling Pisa, is the result of the architectural intervention by Francesco I de’ Medici at the end of the 16th century . The Palace was made up of a single building looking out the river, destroying the pre-existing houses and sparing only tower house of the “Verga d’Oro”, (still existing) from which it is said that Galileo had shown the working of the telescope to the Grand-Duke.
The Palace is the seat of the collection of the ” Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Reale”, established in 1989. Renovated in 2001, it has recovered rooms and spaces with adjacent buildings that formed the complex of the Granduke court. It preserves the aspect of a noble residence, with decoration and furniture of 17th-19th century, and collects paintings, portrays, furniture, tapestries and armours of the important families who lived here: Medici, Lorena and Savoia.
Particularly worth mentioning are Flemish and Florentine tapestries and the ancient armours of the Gioco del Ponte (the historical event which takes place on the last Saturday of June) from the 15th and 17th century. In addition, an altar-step from the polyptych of San Nicola da Tolentino (painted by Raffaello), the portrait of Eleonora di Toledo by Bronzino (1549) and the crimson court dress of Eleonora, witnessing the fashion in vogue at the Medici court in the 16th century.
On show, the collection of Antonio Ceci, the sculptures and paintings by Italo Griselli, one of the most important Italian artists of the first half of the 20th century.
The paintings made by Plinio Nomellini, Spartaco Carlini, Galileo Chini, Mino Rosi and Gianni Bertini are among the newest acquirements.