The trendy Oltrarno (Beyond the Arno) on the south side of the river is home to a number of stylish shops and restaurants, as well as the Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Gardens, and Fort Belvedere. Built in 1458 for the Pitti family, the palace was acquired by the Medici in 1549, and subsequently served as the residence of the royal family until 1919. Today, the palace is a vast museum complex, the largest in Florence. Housed within is the Galleria Palatina featuring works by Rubens and Raphael, Titian and Correggio. From there the Royal Apartments offer some insight into the grand lifestyle of the former royals, with décor dating mostly from the 19th century. The Silver Museum displays a large collection of precious treasures collected by the Medici, while the Costume Gallery offers a glimpse into Italian fashion history. The thirty rooms of the Modern Art Gallery display Italian paintings from the late 19th and twentieth centuries.
The Boboli Gardens were started in 1550 at the request of Eleonora di Toledo, the wife of Cosimo I de' Medici. Designed by architect Niccolo Pericolo, the Tuscan gardens offer a variety of ways to get lost and relax. The Grotta Grande designed by Bernardo Buontalenti contain statues of Bacchus and Ceres by Baccio Bandinelli, and the large, walled Knight’s Garden boasts over 170 statues. Above the gardens looms the Forte de Belvedere, built by Grand Duke Ferdinand in 1590, today the fort offers fantastic Florentine views and offers a series of art exhibitions.