Palazzo Rucellai was one the first Renaissance buildings to be built in Florence. It was commissioned to the great Leon Battista Alberti by Giovanni Rucellai, who, after accumulating a great fortune with the wool trade, strengthened the bond between his family and the Medici family by arranging a marriage between his son Bernardo and Lucrezia dei Medici, better known as Nannina, Lorenzo the Magnificent's older sister. The palace project was then completed by Bernardo Rossellino. Alberti, already the family's architect, had created the facade of Santa Maria Novella, the Rucellai Sepulchre in Via della Scala and the Rucellai Loggia adjacent to the building of the same name.
Giovanni Rucellai was also the writer of the Zibaldone, an important historical memory of the family and of the history of Florence. Here, Rucellai wrote about the difficulties encountered when building the palace. The most difficult part of the undertaking was convincing the neighbours to sell their houses in order to accomplish Alberti's project. The house to the right of the building was never sold and, in fact, today, the facade still looks as if it is interrupted on that side.
Despite the difficulties, the palace was built with great simplicity and harmony in its proportions. The an elegant three-storey grid-like facade is separated by square windows on the ground floor and mullioned windows on which the raised Rucellai coat of arms emerges. At the top, there is a cornice, on top of which you can see a small loggia decorated with monochrome paint.
It was Giovanni Rucellai who sold Lorenzo the Magnificent the land on which he had the Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano built by Giuliano da Sangallo.