The Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace) was built by the Medici family’s social rival, the Pitti family, in an effort to build a bigger mansion than the Medici’s largest estate. Sadly, the Pitti’s went bankrupt in trying to one-up their foes and were forced to sell the palace. Guess who bought it? The Medici’s! And they purchased it for almost nothing. What a sad state of affairs for the Pitti family.
It sounds like a modern day House Hunters episode gone bad; but there’s a twist. Construction on the palace started sometime after 1450, but was unfinished after the project manager (Brunelleschi) died in 1472. The original building only had 3 floors, with 5 windows on each floor. While a large structure for sure, it was no where near the size it is today. So, at some point, the Pitti’s moved out and in 1550, (quite some time after the project was abandoned by the Pitti’s – who probably couldn’t afford to hire a new project manager to complete the build), the Medici’s purchased the original building and began adding on to the structure. The additions and expansions began almost immediately (1560) and lasted until the 1800’s, when the building and decorations and gardens would be considered complete.
All that to say – it’s not as if the Pitti’s built the palace as it stands today, lost it, and the Medici’s snagged it the next day and moved the whole family in. We’re talking about a time span of 400 years between the start of the original build and when it was considered complete.