Fortezza di Santa Maria (aka Belvedere)
The Forte di Belvedere or Fortezza di Santa Maria in San Giorgio del Belvedere (often called simply Belvedere) is a fortification in Florence, Italy. The Fort served as a garrison for troops for over 100 years after its completion.
There are more beautiful villas in Tuscany but few with the view and the high walls of Forte di Belvedere. Frankly, had the Kardashian clan known better they would have put the wedding event in Florence itself at the only walled, five star hotel in the Renaissance City (Four Seasons). This spectacular hotel not only has acres of enclosed private gardens….but a fabulous world-class spa.
The Belevedere, by contrast, is a historical building, with minimal landscaping, built in 1590-1595 by Ferdinando I de’ Medici to protect Florence. Located high on a hilltop at via San Leonardo, 1, it overlooks the entire city. The fort was built to protect the Medici government, the Pitti Palace, residence of Ferdinando, and to display the incredible power of this family. There are passages from the Palazzo Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti (The Vasari Corridor) and then from the Palazzo Pitti to the fort, through tunnels in the Boboli Gardens. The Grand Duke needed to be able to get there for protection should there be an assault on the city.
This complex has been closed for the past 5 years due to a couple of accidents that occurred there. Inside the Fort there is an exhibit called Soul and Matter by a Chinese artist , Zhang Huan. There is a large (huge) sculpture on the grounds which is interesting.
When not hosting a celebrity wedding, Forte di Belvedere is opened from 10-8 every day except Thursday. The tickets cost 5 euro, or you can buy a ticket for the Palazzo Vecchio and Forte Belvedere for 14 euro.