Eleonora was born in 1522 in Naples; her father was the Viceroy of Spain. She was married by proxy to Cosimo I de’Medici. In June 1539, she arrived in Italy, and met her new husband in Pisa.
By all accounts it was a love match, despite the fact that it began as a political, dynastic match. Florence was a very small town, tongues wagged, and never was the rumor bandied about that her husband strayed.
Eleonora gave birth to 11 children, four of whom made it into adulthood. She loved gardens, gambling, real estate, and was restless.
She bought Palazzo Pitti in part because she wanted to recreate the gardens of her youth, and it was she who provided the impetus for the Boboli Gardens (sadly, she did not live to see it complete, dying in 1562).
She adored jewelry, as most portraits of her (and there are many) attest.
Where to see traces of Eleonora in Florence:
Chapel of Eleonora, Palazzo Vecchio
Museo dei Costumi, Palazzo Pitti
Giardino di Boboli
A 2-hour guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery plus around 1 hour visiting one of Florence's treasures - the Bargello.
Today, the Pitti Palace is the biggest museum complex in Florence, housing 5 museums with a diverse collection of art and artefacts ranging from the opulent private living quarters to 16th and 17th century paintings (in the Palatine Gallery) and even a Costume Gallery.