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The Senate buildings - Palazzo Madama (First floor)

Hall of the Ostrich

Unlike all other halls, this one does not have a frieze but boasts a splendid sixteenth-century coffered ceiling with painted and gilded stuccoes which certainly is the most beautiful one in the whole palace.

In the centre an ostrich stands out. There is an interpretation whereby the ostrich may have been chosen to represent Margaret of Austria's original lineage through a French play on words between Autriche (Austria) and autruche (ostrich). According to another interpretation, this bird was chosen as a heraldic symbol of speed and precedence, or of steadiness and strength, or as a symbol of passionate love. In any case, the ostrich was adopted as a representation of an important member of the Medici family who did not hold any religious office, as testified by the crown on the bird's head.

On the walls there are two 16th-century Medici tapestries, a copy of "The Rape of Europa" by Fabris and the painting "Death of Penthesilea" by Vito Tongiani.

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