Florence's City Hall, the Palazzo Vecchio, is one of the most important secular buildings in Florence and one of the city's top attractions. Palazzo Vecchio was constructed in the late 13th/early 14th century in order to house the government offices for the newly formed Florentine Republic. The architect of the Palazzo Vecchio was Arnolfo di Cambio, the architect of Florence's Duomo.
Throughout its history, the Palazzo Vecchio has been known by a number of names – the Palazzo dei Priori, Palazzo del Popolo, Palazzo della Signoria, and Palazzo Ducale – all of which reflect the city's changes in government and the building's use. The ruling Medici family used the Palazzo della Signoria as a home until building the Palazzo Pitti on the left bank of the Arno. After the Pitti was completed, and the Medici moved in, the palace became known as the Palazzo Vecchio ("old palace"). Note that the Piazza della Signoria, the famous square on which the Palazzo Vecchio sits, was named after the building.
Today, the Palazzo Vecchio still contains the office of Florence's Mayor and the City Council. But most of building is now a museum that you can visit (see Palazzo Vecchio Visiting Information).
Two tours are offered by Select Italy - Palazzo Vecchio Guided Tour covers art and history while the Secret Routes Tour takes you through hidden rooms and the attic as well as the most famous rooms. There's also a fresco painting workshop. Palazzo Vecchio Tours from Select Italy.
Continue reading: Visiting Information and What To See in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.