Palagio di Parte Guelfa, the headquarters of the Calcio Storico Fiorentino
The Palagio di Parte Guelfa, the name by which it is commonly called the Palagio dei Capitani di parte Guelfa, is part of an architectural complex which also includes the former Church of Santa Maria sopra Porta and the Palazzo dell’Arte della Seta. Seen from the outside, these buildings are easily distinguishable but inside they are perfectly integrated and develop seamlessly. The palace is located in the homonymous Piazza della Parte Guelfa in Florence.
History of the Palagio di Parte Guelfa
The original project of the palace dates back to the fourteenth century, but over the centuries there were various interventions alternated up to the sixteenth century to finally make its three parts a unique structure. Among the various characters involved in these interventions we also find well-known names such as that of Brunelleschi and that of Vasari.
His task was to host the Florentine Guelph party, one of the most important factions of the city, which at the time of Dante did not yet have a permanent home.
The Captains resided in the palace until 1769, when the building passed to the community of Florence. Unfortunately, between the eighteenth and eighth centuries the complex underwent a very serious deterioration and even risked being demolished. Fortunately, an association in defense of ancient Florence, also supported by numerous foreign intellectuals, managed to save the palace.
Finally, in the twenties of the twentieth century, the palace was the subject of an important restoration work in the neo-medieval style. This intervention was not limited to conserving and restoring the structure but also brought new additions.
Description of the Palagio
The paradox is that the most characteristic part of the building, that is the one that can be seen from the adjacent loggias of the new market, is actually the newest and remodeled, with interventions that significantly altered the original layout. The twentieth-century additions and restorations concerned the external staircase (added on that occasion), the Gothic mullioned window and the Guelph style battlements (restored with the restoration).
To find traces of the interventions of Filippo Brunelleschi and Giorgio Vasari you have to go to the side of Via del Capaccio. Brunelleschi’s intervention, inspired by the medieval Florentine architectural tradition (see Orsanmichele), led to solutions of unprecedented geometry. Vasari is instead owed a hanging loggia on corbels where there is a Medici coat of arms made by Giambologna.