The Bernini Palace has always been the Florentine home from home for the big names in international cinema, honegrown and from Hollywood. Many of them have stayed at the hotel and David Foschi remembers them all. Mainly because, first working as a secretary at the reception desk as a young man, then as hotel manager, he has met them all personally. The Bernini has welcomed Italian film celebrities in particular, especially on the occasion of events and festivals.
Guests at the Bernini: Italian stars passing through
They have dined and stayed here, among the period furniture and fine marbles, for a single night or for longer periods. The young – and still relatively unknown – Giuseppe Tornatore, is one example: he came in 1989, when his Nuovo Cinema Paradiso was showing at cinemas. Another is Sophia Loren, greeted in 2006 by a horde of fans at the entrance. One of the hotel’s most famous guests, Vittorio Gassman, so fell in love with Florence and its cultural ferment that in 1979 he opened his Bottega Teatrale, a workshop for young actors that was a benchmark for the theatre in Italy and beyond for almost 25 years.
Other guests have included Ugo Tognazzi, unforgettable in the role of Conte Mascetti in Amici Miei, and Bernardo Bertolucci, born in Emilia but with Tuscany close to his heart. Another was Marcello Mastroianni, a guest at the hotel in the early 1990s, who had already captured the hearts of Florentines not only for artistic merits. In1975, in fact, he had donated thousands of trees to the former psychiatric hospital of San Salvi, when it served as the set for the Mauro Bolognini movie, Per le antiche scale (Down the Ancient Staircase), in which he was starring. He thus initiated a tradition that has continued to this day with donations by citizens and associations. Lando Buzzanca was a regular guest at the hotel and Antonio Albanese has often stayed here too, while Pierfrancesco Favino loves to spend time at the Bernini’s Lounge Bar and on one occasion stay in one of our suite. Browsing through the hotel’s “roll of honour”, one also sees the names of the likes of Alessandro Haber, Giancarlo Giannini, Gabriele Lavia, Enrico Lo Verso, Stefania Sandrelli and Tonino Delli Colli, Sergio Leone’s trusted director of photography. Decades of history of Italian cinema united by an experience of hospitality and hospitableness.