Having taken over the Palazzo Vecchio and ousted the Medici family, “Mad Monk” Savonarola commissioned the construction of the enormous Salone dei Cinquecento to hold a “Grand Council.” Four years later, Savonarola was dead, and the Medici were back in power. Eventually, Grand Duke Cosimo de’ Medici decided unwisely to enlarge the hall, which resulted in the loss of partially completed masterpieces by the likes of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Today, expansive frescoes done in the 16th century by Giorgio Vasari and his apprentices portray victorious battles of Florence over Pisa and Siena.

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