The Palazzo Pitti or Pitti Palace dates to 1458 and was the town residence of Luca Pitti, a Florentine banker. The Medici family bought the place, which is on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio, in 1549. It served the main home of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and grew as a great treasure house. Later generations amassed paintings, plates, jewelry and luxurious possessions. Napoleon used the palace in the late 18th century, and King Victor Emmanuel III donated the building and its contents to the Italian people in 1919.