Florence was one of the main stops on the Grand Tour, the long journey to Italy that European aristocrats undertook in the 18th and 19th centuries to perfect their learning. The city still represents a timeless universal ideal of beauty, which it conveys through its architecture, sculpture, piazzas and museums. The Bernini Palace is the perfect base for anyone keen to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of this, the cradle of the Renaissance.
From Dante to the Risorgimento, a plunge into the past at the Bernini Palace
Our 5-star hotel is located not only in the centre of town – Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio are literally a step away – but also in the heart of Florentine history
and culture. The building dates from the 15th century
, when it started life already as a hotel: it was subsequently renamed Hotel Columbia Parlamento
in the period in which Florence was capital of the Kingdom of Italy
, from 1865 to 1870. Members of parliament and senators used to come here every day for informal meetings, and the likes of Garibaldi, Cavour, Gioberti, Balbo, Lamarmora, Daniele Manin and many others would lunch in the present breakfast room
. Today the room is called Sala Parlamento
and is decorated with a series of medallions portraying the leading figures from that unforgettable period in Italian history and politics.
In the 15th century, the palazzo that houses the Bernini Palace belonged to the Della Pera family
, ancestors of the Peruzzis, cited by Dante Alighieri
in Canto XVI of his Paradiso
. This link with Dante is particularly significant this year, the seventh centenary
of the death of the “Sommo Poeta”, the “Supreme Poet”. For the occasion the city’s cultural associations have organised a full calendar of events and tourist itineraties.
Exhibitions, palazzi and collections near the hotel
One of the main reasons for visiting Florence is its exhibitions
. Especially the ones organised at Palazzo Strozzi
, a Renaissance masterpiece with a courtyard looking onto the city, which also stages concerts, drama and artistic installations. Here, from October 2 2021 to January 30 2022, an exhibition will be dedicated to the American artist Jeff Koons
, featuring his most representative works on the concept of “Shine”, large-scale glossy metal sculptures that resemble inflatable toys. The nearby Galleria degli Uffizi
offers an opportunity to admire the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Titian, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Dürer, Rubens and many others besides, while the Corridoio Vasariano
, a covered corridor lined with works of art connecting Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti, is scheduled to open in 2022.
Housed in the old Spedale delle Leopoldine in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, is the Museo Novecento
: dedicated to 20th-century Italian art, its Della Ragione collection is a selection of works by Giorgio De Chirico, Filippo De Pisis, Gino Severini, Giorgio Morandi, Mario Mafai, Renato Guttuso, Felice Casorati and many others, as well as works belonging to the Ottone Rosai legacy. The museum also organises many interesting temporary exhibitions
of contemporary international artists.
The Galleria dell’Accademia
, finally, houses Michelangelo’s David
– the original, the one in Piazza della Signoria being a copy – alongside a vast collection of paintings, sculptures and musical instruments. The masterpieces include The Rape of the Sabine Women
by Giambologna and unfinished sculptures by Michelangelo Buonarroti