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Your VR tour of the Boboli Gardens begins here. The immense Pitti Palace began as a more modest edifice, whose design is attributed to the great Filippo Brunelleschi. Construction began in 1440 and comprised only the first seven bays. Even so, the palace was meant by Luca Pitti as a statement of power and wealth to the rival Medici. Luca died in 1472 and the family's fortunes declined. The Medici bought the palace in 1549 and immediately began to expand the building and lay out the first formal garden in Europe, what we now know as the Boboli Gardens. The Pitti is the second-largest museum in Florence (the Uffizi is first) and covers over 32,000 square meters (about 350,000 square feet). There are actually 8 museums at the Pitti: the Palatine Gallery takes up 25 rooms and comprises the Medici's 'private' collection of paintings; the Gallery of Modern Art, based on the Macchiaioli School of Italian Impressionists; the magnificent Silver Museum; the Costume Gallery; the Porcelain Museum; the Coach Museum; and, the Contini-Bonacossi gallery. One should not forget the Monumental Apartments, which were home to King Victor Emmanuel II when Florence was briefly the capital of the Kingdom of Italy from 1865 to 1871.