The palace was built around the year 1470 by the Lenzi family on a design by an unknown architect. The Lenzi family resided in the palace until the middle of the 17th century, when the palace was bought by the Buini family, who modernized the interior. In 1765, the palace passed to the Quaratesi family.
In the 19th century, Palazzo Lenzi was used as a hotel, under the name of Locanda di Russia. Around the middle of the 19th century, the whole area changed its appearance, with the construction of Palazzo Giuntini and the Hotel Excelsior.
At the end of the 19th century, the palace was purchased by the antiquarian Luigi Pisani, who began a series of important restorations. The works were supervised by the architect Luigi Del Moro and the painter Pietro Baldancoli. After the restorations were completed, Luigi Pisani placed his art and antiques gallery in the palace.
In 1908, the palace became the seat of the French Institute of the University of Grenoble. Then, in 1912, it became the seat of the Institut Français de Florence.
In 1950, it was bought by the French government, and its facades were again affected by restorations. Today, it is also the seat of the Honorary Consulate of France, and of the French Library. Periodically, art exhibitions, conferences and other cultural events are hosted there.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The facade of the palace, with three floors, five large portals on the ground floor and two rows of windows on the upper floors, is decorated by graffiti frames, string courses and columns.
Inside the palace, the Alcova Room (Stanza dell’Alcova) is interesting, with stucco decorations and an archway with the coats of arms of the Buini and Frescobaldi families, painted to commemorate a wedding celebrated in 1705.
On the first floor of the palace, there is located the Theater of the French Institute. The rectangular hall with a small stage is mainly used for conferences and courses.
HOW TO GET THERE
Palazzo Lenzi is located about 700 meters away from the Santa Maria Novella railway station. The closest bus stop is located in the southwestern corner of Piazza Ognissanti, about 50 meters away, on the bus Lines 12, 36, 37 and C3.
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