Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace) is an imposing palace in Florence, located in Piazza della Signoria, near the Uffizi Gallery. SHORT HISTORY At the end of the 13th century, the city decided to build a palace in order to ensure effective protection for its magistrates. The project was attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio, architect of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and of the Basilica of Santa Croce. The palace, called Palazzo dei Priori, was built on the ruins of Palazzo dei Fanti and Palazzo dell’Esecutore di Giustizia, formerly owned by the Ghibelline family of the Uberti. Arnolfo di Cambio began the works in 1299, but the palace was completed after his death, in 1314. On March 26, 1302, the palace became the seat of the Signoria (the city council headed by the Priors). Between 1342 and 1343, the Duke of Athens, Gualtieri VI of Brienne, enlarged the palace towards Via della Ninna. Other important changes took place between 1440 and 1460 under Cosimo de’ Medici, when Sala dei Dugento was decorated in Renaissance style. Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundred) was built in 1494 during the republic of Girolamo Savonarola. Between 1540 and 1550, Palazzo Vecchio Read more [...]
In Italy, a residence of a nobleman, usually larger than a regular house, is called palazzo, a term translated into English as palace. In the past, besides residences, the palazzi also functioned as warehouses and office spaces. Many cities in Italy have a Palazzo Ducale, the seat of the local lord. Probably, the city with the most palaces is Venice, mostly located on the banks of the Grand Canal.
Maybe the most important palaces in Italy are Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Palazzo Reale in Caserta, Doge’s Palace in Venice, Palazzo Reale in Milan, Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome, Palazzo Reale in Naples, Palazzo della Ragione in Padua and Palazzo dei Priori in Perugia. With so many palaces, it is hard to decide which are the most beautiful and worth visiting, and that is why we suggest that you visit them all.
Palazzo Lenzi is a palace in Florence, located in Piazza Ognissanti, in the western part of the historical center of the city. SHORT HISTORY 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 Read more [...]
Palazzo Corsini al Parione is one of the most sumptuous private palaces in Florence, located on the homonymous Lungarno Corsini, halfway between Ponte Santa Trinita and Ponte alla Carraia. SHORT HISTORY Until the 16th century, there were various buildings on this area, the most important of them being the Casino del Parione and the house of the lawyer Tommaso Compagni, decorated by a fresco with the Nine Muses by Bernardino Poccetti. The land was owned first by the Marquis of Marignano, then by Giovanni de’ Medici, son of Cosimo I and Eleonora degli Albizi. In 1621, the property passed to Cardinal Giovan Carlo de’ Medici, and in 1640 it was sold to Maddalena Machiavelli, mother of Bartolomeo Corsini. Bartolomeo Corsini began the construction of a new building in 1656, initially with the contribution of the architect Alfonso Parigi the Younger, who was succeeded later by Ferdinando Tacca, and by Pierfrancesco Silvani. After Silvani’s death in 1685, the work was continued by Antonio Maria Ferri, who gave the current appearance to the structure: the three bodies articulated around a central courtyard, the monumental staircase and the facade on Lungarno Corsini. Today, the palace is still partly inhabited by the descendants Read more [...]
Palazzo Gianfigliazzi Bonaparte is a palace in Florence, located on Lungarno Corsini, about 60 meters away from Ponte Santa Trinita. SHORT HISTORY Until the end of the 18th century, Palazzo Gianfigliazzi Bonaparte was the property of the noble Gianfigliazzi family, who also owned the adjacent Palazzo Gianfigliazzi. In 1825, the palace was bought by Louis Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the former King of Holland in exile. Later, the palace was used as a hotel called Delle Quattro Nazioni (Of the Four Nations). In 1827, as a plaque on the facade recalls, the Italian writer and poet Alessandro Manzoni lived there for a month. Around the middle of the 19th century, the palace was owned by the Lamporecchi family, who sold it to the Belgian Van der Linden d’Hooghvorst. At that time, the building was restored by the architect Bartolommeo Silvestri, who rearranged the windows on the facade and closed the panoramic loggia on the top floor. Changes were also made to the interior, where the halls were renovated to host sumptuous receptions. At the end of the 19th century, Palazzo Gianfigliazzi Bonaparte was sold to the Cesaroni Venanzi family. Today, it belongs to the Campodonico Read more [...]
Palazzo Gianfigliazzi is a palace in Florence, located on Lungarno Corsini, about 50 meters away from Ponte Santa Trinita. SHORT HISTORY The palace was built by the Ruggerini family in the 13th century, then passed to the Fastelli-Petribuoni family. At the beginning of the 15th century, it became the property of the Gianfigliazzi family. In the 17th century, the palace was renovated by the architect Gherardo Silvani. Towards the middle of the following century, it was rented to Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedern, wife of Charles Edward Stuart, pretender to the English throne. In 1853, the building passed to the Masetti family, who enlarged it by one floor and changed the arrangement of the windows on the facade. Today, Palazzo Gianfigliazzi belongs to a real estate company, and houses the 4-Star hotel Palazzo Alfieri Residenza d’Epoca. HOW TO GET THERE Palazzo Gianfigliazzi is located about 1 kilometer away from the Santa Maria Novella railway station. The closest bus stop is Frescobaldi, located in Piazza de’ Frescobaldi, about 180 meters away, on the bus Lines 11, C3 and C4.
Palazzo della Borsa is a large palace in Florence, located on Lungarno Diaz, about 100 meters away from the Uffizi Gallery. SHORT HISTORY The area in which the palace currently stands was occupied until the mid-19th century by Tiratoio delle Grazie, an edifice belonging to the guild of Arte della Lana (Wool Art). When the ancient guilds were dissolved by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo, the site was chosen for a large building suitable for housing the Chamber of Commerce, the Stock Exchange and the Tuscan National Bank. Palazzo della Borsa was built between 1858 and 1860 on a project by the young architect Michelangelo Maiorfi, reworked with significant changes by Emilio De Fabris. Around 1915, the entrance from Piazza dei Giudici was opened, and some internal works were carried out based on a project by the architect Ugo Giusti. An intervention by the architect Ezio Cerpi, which led to the raising of the entire attic, thus obtaining the second floor and bringing the structure to its current volume, is dated to 1931. The smooth plaster on the facade and the construction of a large hall in the eastern side of the palace, intended for the Stock Exchange, date Read more [...]
Palazzo Malenchini Alberti is a palace in Florence, located in Via dei Benci, at the intersection with Lungarno Generale Diaz. SHORT HISTORY The noble family of Alberti di Catenaia settled in this area of Florence in the first half of the 13th century. The family purchased several properties and merged them to form a large structure in which they resided. Between 1760 and 1763, the fronts of the buildings were unified into a single facade, on the initiative of Giovan Vincenzo Alberti, Count of the Holy Roman Empire. Giovan Vincenzo’s son, Leon Battista, died without heirs in 1836, and the palace passed to a nephew belonging to the Mori Ubaldini family. Between 1838 and 1839, the new family renovated the palace, under the direction of the architect Vittorio Bellini. Other interventions took place between 1849 and 1851 by the architects Odoardo Razzi and Niccolò Salvi. The first created the Neo-Renaissance facade, inaugurated in 1850. The second took care of the loggia on the northern side of the palace’s garden. At the end of the 19th century, the palace was bought at auction by the Dukes of Chaulnes, distant descendants of the Alberti. In 1887, they left Florence, and the Read more [...]
Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali, also known as Palazzo Lavison, is an imposing palace in Florence, located in Piazza della Signoria, across the square from Palazzo Vecchio. SHORT HISTORY Around 1864, some buildings in the area, such as the ancient Tower of the Infangati (Torre degli Infangati), the Church of Santa Cecilia, the seat of Arte del Cambio and the Pisani Loggia (Loggia dei Pisani), were demolished. In 1871, the Baron Edoardo Lavison commissioned the architect Giovanni Carlo Landi to build a palace in their place. In 1872, on the corner with Via Vacchereccia, the Rivoire Café was opened by the chocolatier and pastry chef Enrico Rivoire, which became over time one of the most famous places in Florence. After it was owned by the Fenzi banking family, the palace was purchased at the beginning of the 20th century by the Assicurazioni Generali company. Between 2010 and 2011, the palace was the subject of a structural consolidation and rehabilitation intervention. It was inaugurated in January 2012, under the new name of Palazzo del Leone. ARCHITECTURE The facade of the palace develops on four floors. On the ground floor, there are 9 arches occupied by large windows, except for the Read more [...]
Palazzo Pitti is an imposing Renaissance-style palace in Florence, located in Piazza dei Pitti. The palace was the residence of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and was inhabited, over time, by the Medici family, by the Habsburg-Lorraine and, after the Unification of Italy, by the Savoy. Palazzo Pitti hosts the Palatine Gallery, the Royal Apartments, the Apartment of the Duchess of Aosta, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Treasury of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, the Costume Gallery, the Porcelain Museum and the Carriage Museum. The museal complex of Palazzo Pitti also includes the Boboli Gardens. SHORT HISTORY Luca Pitti, a rival of the Medici family, desired a more luxurious palace than the one built by Michelozzo for Cosimo the Elder. Around 1440, Pitti entrusted the project to Filippo Brunelleschi, but the architect died long before the construction began, and the project passed to his pupil, Luca Fancelli. The construction was started around 1458, but, due to various design problems and financial difficulties, the works were temporarily interrupted in 1465. Luca Pitti died in 1472. Around 1550, Buonaccorso Pitti sold the palace to Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici and daughter of the Viceroy of Naples. Read more [...]
Palazzo dell’Antella is a palace with a beautiful frescoed facade in Florence, located in Piazza di Santa Croce, near the Basilica of Santa Croce. SHORT HISTORY The first significant expansion of the palace dates back to the second half of the 16th century – the building was raised by a floor, including a mezzanine, and the wooden doors were replaced with stone ones, still visible today. The architect of the palace was probably someone from the circle of Baccio d’Agnolo. In the early 17th century, the palace passed to Senator Niccolò dell’Antella, through the dowry of his wife Costanza del Barbigia. In 1619, dell’Antella commissioned the architect Giulio Parigi to give a unified design to the properties the senator bought in Piazza di Santa Croce. To give a unified appearance to the adjacent buildings, the architect had the entire facade painted with frescoes. The paintings were made in just twenty days of work, between 1619 and 1620, by a team of thirteen young artists supervised by the painter Giovanni da San Giovanni. Dell’Antella died out in 1698 and, later, the palace passed by inheritance to the Dal Borgo family, then to Lotteringhi della Stufa and finally to de’ Nobili. Read more [...]