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Life & Culture

The Palazzo Tornabuoni Florence | Arts & Collections

Palazzo Tornabuoni, whose origins date back to the fifteenth century, remains one of the most important privately owned Renaissance palaces in Florence. Its location, at the corner of Via Tornabuoni and Via Strozzi, places the Palazzo in the historical centre and at the heart of Florence’s contemporary life. Entering the Palazzo, the huntress Diana welcomes you. From its Renaissance origins, through the successive generations of illustrious Florentines that have lived here, frescoes, sculptures and architectural details tell magnificent stories of love, joy and courage.

Jacopo Corsi, owner of Palazzo Tornabuoni after Alessandro Medici, was a great music lover and in the habit of holding gatherings in the Palazzo Tornabuoni with a selection of the greatest poets and musicians of that time, like Claudio Monteverdi, Torquato Tasso, Ottavio Rinuccini, Jacopo Peri and Giovanbatista Marino, who called themselves the ‘Academy of Music’. In fact, it was in the now Privately Owned Residence the ‘Sala delle Muse’ that the opera ‘Dafne’ was first staged in 1594 to the music of Peri and the lyrics of Rinuccini. This was the first melodramatic performance in the world and it was later held in a more systematic manner in the famous ‘Sala Bianca’ of Palazzo Pitti.

This musical entertainment commissioned by Corsi would gain Palaazzo Tornabuoni a place in the history books – for although the elite circle of humanists who gathered to hear Jacopo Peri’s Dafne one evening in 1598 were probably unaware of its significance, scholars now consider this to be the world’s first opera.

One of the most precious objects in the Sala delle Muse is the marble mantel piece decorated with micro mosaic panels by Giacomo Raffaelli. These pint-sized masterpieces depict various animals and are crafted in a technique developed by Raffaelli. Long rods of molten, coloured glass were snipped into tiny, jewel coloured pieces called tesserae, which were used to create the images. Raffaelli’s work was much esteemed during his lifetime, and he had workshops in Rome, Florence and Milan. His work is much sought after by collectors, and is featured in museums throughout the world, including the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and Villa Giulia in Rome. Raffaelli lived during the period of the Grand Tour in Rom and was the last of a famous family of glassmakers. He dedicated his life mostly to the micro mosaics but he became a polyvalent and curious artist inventing new techniques and working for restorations of historic mosaics.

Palazzo Tornabuoni offers a rare opportunity to live in and amongst the history, architecture and culture of Reniassance Florence while enjoying the finest comforts and amenities managed by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

Over the centuries, each generation embellished the palace with magnificent frescoes and statuary, creating the glorious edifice that Club members enjoy today. Some of the most splendid works of art date from the late sixteenth century, when the Palazzo became the property of Alessandro de’ Medici, the future Pope Leo XI. As Archbishop of Florence, Alessandro transformed the Palazzo into his seat of power, commissioning leading artists of the day to decorate its grand halls.

In 1736 Marquis Antonio Corsi acquired Palazzo Tornabuoni. During the following century and a half his family continued to embellish and improve the Palazzo, unifying its diverse architectural styles as well as commissioning new decorative elements. Many of the hand carved marble mantle pieces, as well as the delicate stucco work framing the frescoes, date from this time. A meticulous four-year restoration has returned the Palace to the splendor of its Reniassance origins. At the same time, the building’s infrastructure has been updated to the most hi-tech, yet unobtrusive, levels of comfort, style and convenience.

The Palazzo was a favorite meeting point for many of the great poets and musicians who made Florence such a vibrant cultural hub, including Monteverdi, Tasso, Rinuccini and Gallileo Galilei’s father. Reviving its sixteenth-century role as a civic fulcrum, Palazzo Tornabuoni Club is once again an integral part of the city’s vibrant cultural life, and a dynamic forum for intellectual, social and business encounters.

Driven by curiosity, a thirst for cultural enrichment, and the desire for personal growth, Club Tornabuoni Members from around the world share common interests and experiences. Palazzo Tornabuoni exists to facilitate such encounters. With the help of the Palazzo’s Attache, Club Tornabuoni Members enjoy preferential access to museums, galleries and private collections.

At Palazzo Tornabuoni beauty is seamlessly interwoven in thirty-eight elegant residences that are both historic and contemporary. Members of Palazzo Tornabuoni enjoy a unique lifestyle born of the best of centuries of Florentine culture, and the city’s deep-rooted talent for turning life into art.


The Palazzo Tornabuioni Florence is managed by the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Visit them online to find out more.