Palazzo Strozzi in Florence

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Near Piazza della Repubblica (republic square), which was built towards the end of the 19th century, there is one of the most known and visited florentine monuments, Palazzo Strozzi. This place hosts events and art exhibitions, like Ai Weiwei. Libero, an art exhbition which took place from 23 September 2016 to 22 January 2017, and in which there were some works by the comtemporary artist Ai Weiwei, or Picasso and Spanish Modernity, an art exhibition about Spanish modern art which started 20 September 2014 and ended 25 January 2015. Let’s see the story of this building.

The Strozzi family is one of the most important familes in Florence, and it was a rival of the Medici family. After being exiled in 1434 with the Albizi family, they returned to Florence in 1437. Alessandra Strozzi sent her sons to learn the art of trading. In 1458 they received from the Medici family a ban on living first at one hundred and then fifty miles from Florence; eight years later, they returned to the city. One of them, Filippo Strozzi, commissioned the construction of the palace, which started in 1489. He didn’t see the building completed because he died in 1491.

Giuliano da Sangallo, who was Lorenzo the Magnificent’s favourite architect, made a wooden model of the building, which can be seen still today. Simone del Pollaiolo, who was known as “Il Cronaca”, and Baccio d’Agnolo worked on the construction of the building, which was completed in 1538. Around 1505, when the ground floor, the first floor and the second floor were already completed, Filippo’s sons lived in the palace. The cornice wasn’t finished due to the contrasts between Filippo Strozzi’s heirs. Prince Piero Strozzi commissioned the renovation of the palace to the architect Pietro Berti; the works took place between 1886 and 1889. The Strozzi family kept the property of the Palazzo until 1937, when it was purchased by the Istituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni. In 1999 the State of Italy got the palace from the Istituto.

It is no coincidence that the size of the building exceeds those of Palazzo Medici, to which it is similar. At the centre of the palace there is the courtyard built by Simone del Pollaiolo, which has Corinthian columns. On the first floor there is a chapel built by architect Gherardo Silvani. The façade has two rows of windows, each one presenting the family coat of arms. On the ground floor, there are three entrances and one row of rectangular windows, and inside you can admire the Ferri room. The halls with double lancet windows are located on the first floot, also called Piano Nobile.

There are four institutes inside the palace: the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation, the Gabinetto Vieusseux, the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and the Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento (National Institute of Renaissance Studies). It is possible to reach the palace by taking a taxi or the bus lines C2, 6, 11 and 22 of ATAF.

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