Palazzo Rucellai

The palazzo stands in Via della Vigna Nuova, facing the little triangular piazza of the same name, with the Loggia that also bears the name of this important Florentine family intermarried with the Medici and on friendly terms with Leonardo's father.
It was built in the mid-fifteenth century by Bernardo Rossellino to the design of Alberti for Giovanni Rucellai, whose name derives from "oricello", a purple dye extracted from lichens, which was used to dye fabrics and was produced in Via degli Orti Oricellari.
The style of this palazzo inspired the architecture of some of the most important Florentine palaces in the second half of the 15th century, even exerting its influence over the Palazzo Piccolomini designed by Bernardo Rossellino at Pienza. The only hydraulic device designed by Leonardo whose invention is documented is the water meter said to have been sent by him from France to Bernardo Rucellai, as stated in the manuscript of Lorenzo and Benvenuto della Volpaia now in the Marciana Library in Venice.

Texts by
Alessandro Vezzosi, in collaboration with Agnese Sabato / English translation by Catherine Frost