Forte di Belvedere
The Forte di Belvedere is a fortified outpost connected to Florence's city wall. Located at the apex of the hills surrounding the city, it afforded it inhabitants an ideal vantage point over the valley. In a logic of which Machiavelli himself would be proud, the fort has two purposes; not only is it a line of protection against those who would seek to attack the city and its leaders, it is also a tool of the Medici's to guard against any attempt to remove them from within, as happened in the later 1400's. The castle has another strategic role, in addition to its commanding view of the valley below. Forte di Belvedere is adjacent to the Boboli Gardens and Pitti Place. In the event of any unrest that would threaten the Medicis, they could simply use secret passages to make their escape from the palace, through the gardens, and arrive at the relative safety of the fort. The fort was always a visible symbol of the might of the Medici family. Today Forte di Belvedere has a much less menacing role, offering fabulous views of the city below. In the middle of the fortress there is a three-story palazzetto in the manner of a Medici villa, currently used to house exhibitions.