Today it is the seat of the Municipality of Florence, but all the political history of the city has passed from this building, called Palazzo dei Priori at the time of the Florentine Republic because it was the seat of the Council of Priors of Florence.
Before its construction in that point there was a Roman theater, part of which has been brought to light by recent excavations in the basement of Palazzo Vecchio. Its foundation is due to the desire to give the magistrates, at the end of the thirteenth century, an important and secure seat. The palace was progressively enlarged during the years and from 1540 to 1565 it was the residence of the Medici, which was then transferred to Palazzo Pitti with the construction of the Vasari Corridor.
From 1865 to 1871 it was the seat of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Italy.
On the facade the Tower of Arnolfo stands, while above the entrance door there is a frontispiece that celebrates Christ. Also on the facade there are coats of arms depicting the political situation in Florence in the fourteenth century.
Inside the building there are many rooms: the Sala dell'Udienza, the Sala dei Gigli, several rooms dedicated to Lorenzo, Leone X, Cosimo il Vecchio and Cosimo I of Medici; the Sala dei Dugento where the town council meets and the most majestic of all: the Salone dei Cinquecento.