Cosimo de' Medici's great house on the Via Larga in Florence, begun in the mid-1440s, was the model of Early Renaissance palace architecture. By the time he moved into it, however, sometime before 1458, Cosimo's life had nearly run its course. Most of his years had been spent in the house of his father, the casa vecchia of the Medici, also on the Via Larga. Possibly at the same time as the construction of the new palace, this first Medici palace underwent a transformation that united the main house and flanking buildings behind one vast façade. This article seeks to ascertain the precise nature and location of the old Medici complex on the Via Larga through examination of the visual and documentary evidence of the casa vecchia and all adjoining properties. An inventory of the house made in 1418 suggests a tentative reconstruction of the interior of the old palace, while comparison with other 14th-century houses may warrant certain assumptions about its external appearance. It will be seen that a striking similarity exists between the 1418 inventory of parts of the first Medici palace and the order of the palace begun by Cosimo de' Medici in the 1440s. As was usual in Early Renaissance architecture, the components and arrangement of an earlier house became the point of departure for the program and layout of a new house.

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