Situated between Piazza Strozzi and via Tornabuoni in the heart of Florence, the city in which Dan Brown’s novel Inferno is set, Palazzo Strozzi is one of the finest examples of Renaissance domestic architecture.
Palazzo Strozzi was commissioned by the Florentine merchant Filippo Strozzi.
This banker, statesman, and member of the affluent Strozzi family was exiled from Florence in 1434 due to his opposition to the Medici family. However, thanks to the fortune accumulated by Filippo as a banker in Naples, the Strozzi family would return to the city in 1466 to crush its rivals.
A great number of other buildings were acquired during the 70s and demolished to provide enough space for construction of the largest palace that had ever been seen in Florence.
The foundation was laid in 1489 according to a design by Benedetto da Maiano. A year later, the project was assigned to the Italian architect Simone del Pollaiolo, who would work on it even after the death of Filippo Strozzi in 1491 up until 1504.
The Palazzo was only finished in 1538. It remained the property of the Strozzi family until 1937, after which time it was occupied by the the Istituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni. Since 1999, it has been managed by the City of Florence.
The Palazzo is now home to the Institute of Humanist Studies, the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation, the Gabinetto G.P. Viesseux, and the Renaissance Studies Institute. The last two have occupied the building since 1940.
Today the palace is used for international expositions, fashion shows, and other cultural and artistic events.
Palazzo Strozzi is an example of civil architecture, with its rusticated stone inspired by the Palazzo Medici and its harmonious proportions. From Palazzo Medici, Filippo copied the cubic form, designing three floors around a central courtyard.
Unlike the Medici Palace, which was situated on a corner lot, and thus has only two sides, Palazzo Strozzi is surrounded on all four sides by streets and is a free-standing structure. The ground plan of Palazzo Strozzi is rigorously symmetrical on its two axes, with clearly differentiated scales for its principal rooms.
There are three arched portals on each of the three sides overlooking the street. The Palazzo has mullioned-paired windows, and wrought-iron lanterns decorate the corners of the palace exterior.
The Palazzo Strozzi Foundation
The City of Florence, The Florence Provincial Authority, the Florence Chamber of Commerce, and an association of private-sector partners joined together in April 2006 to set up a public-cum-private company to manage and promote Palazzo Strozzi.
Since July 2006, the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation has successfully devised and implemented a rich and innovative program of exhibitions, events, and activities in the various areas of the Palazzo, such as the Piano Nobile, the Strozzina, and the Courtyard.
The Palazzo Strozzi now hosts three major exhibitions annually and is open year-round with a café/bar and a permanent exhibition on the history of the Palazzo Strozzi. In November 2007, the spaces under the courtyard were re-opened as the Centre for Contemporary Culture Strozzina (CCCS) and will host a wide variety of activities including exhibitions, events, lectures, and program designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of visitors of all ages, nationalities, and backgrounds.
Since its founding in July 2006, the key challenge of the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation has been to bring an international approach to promotiing culture in Florence, to provide a platform for experimentation, to provide a place for debate and discussion, to create new synergies with other cultural players, and to be a catalyst for cultural change.
Picture by www.artspecialday.com