Palazzo Strozzi, one of the most beautiful Renaissance palaces
Palazzo Strozzi is one of the most beautiful civil Renaissance palaces in all of Italy. A true jewel of Florence‘s golden age, Palazzo Strozzi is today an elite location for large art exhibitions and installations that find a truly unique setting here.
Overlooking the homonymous square and the renowned Via de’ Tornabuoni, Palazzo Strozzi certainly does not go unnoticed: its imposing dimensions and its unmistakable ashlar facade cannot but capture the attention.
History of Palazzo Strozzi
The history of Palazzo Strozzi is linked to that of its strong-willed (but perhaps we could say obsessed) creator, Filippo Strozzi. The Strozzi family was one of the noblest and most powerful in Florence, however, due to their rivalry with the Medici, they were exiled from the city in 1434. Filippo, who had become very rich by working as a banker in Naples, finally managed to return to the city in 1466. All this time he was always animated by the desire for revenge against his enemies and by the firm will to restore luster to the name of the Strozzi family.
To achieve his goals, Filippo invested, spared no expense, in the construction of a magnificent palace that was to make his rivals pale. To do this, he bought and demolished several buildings in the area he chose in order to have a large enough plot to erect his new formidable palace. Among the properties purchased there are the houses of the Ardinghelli, the Rucellai, the Popoleschi, the Tornaquinci and also a tower of the Counts Guidi of Poppi. Piazza dei Tornaquinci was also sacrificed to make room for Filippo Strozzi’s palace. All this was possible also thanks to the intervention of Lorenzode’ Medici, who in the meantime had re-established relations between the Strozzi and the Medici. As we will see, the newfound harmony between the two families was not destined to last…
The construction of the palace saw the succession of great names such as Giuliano da Sangallo, Benedetto da Maiano, Simone del Pollaiolo and Baccio d’Agnolo, proving to be a real undertaking also due to the alternating economic fortunes of the Strozzi family. In the end it was another Filippo Strozzi, known as the Younger, who completed the construction of the palace in 1538.
It had been 50 years since the first stone was laid and history was about to take a new negative turn for the Strozzi. Having re-entered the war with the Medici, the Strozzi family saw themselves confiscating the palace for which they had worked and invested so much by Cosimo I de’ Medici.
The family was able to regain its palace only thirty years later when it was returned to Cardinal Lorenzo Strozzi, brother of Filippo The Younger who in the meantime had died in prison. In 1907, Piero Strozzi, the last descendant of the family, died without heirs and the building passed first to the National Insurance Institute and then to the Italian State.
Today Palazzo Strozzi is one of the main cultural centers of the city and houses the Gabinetto G. P. Vieusseux, the Istituto di Studi sul Rinascimento, the Istituto di Studi Umanistici and the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi.
What to see at Palazzo Strozzi
Description of the palace
Palazzo Strozzi was deliberately built by its creator with dimensions greater than those of Palazzo Medici, today known as Palazzo Medici Riccardi, which at the time was the home of Cosimo the Elder. The structure is very similar to that of the Medici palace: the palace is in fact a cube that is spread over three floors with an internal courtyard. The decoration of the walls also follows the example of Palazzo Medici Riccardi with ashlar, more massive in the lower section and almost smooth in the upper ones, on all the facades of Palazzo Strozzi.
In this magnificent palace, the principles of the Florentine Renaissance architecture of the fifteenth century are fully respected, starting from the symmetry that characterizes the whole complex. The large entrance portals and the two rows of mullioned windows on the two upper floors are of considerable impact, but the numerous details such as the twists, the flag bearers and the rings for the horses, which are the work of Niccolò di Nofri, should not be ignored.
The large internal courtyard, the real heart of the structure, has its own particular lightness thanks to the play of delicate arches resting on Corinthian capitals, while on the second floor in correspondence with the courtyard there is an elegant loggia. The building has been carefully restored and wandering through the rooms on the main floor, open for the numerous exhibitions that take place inside, you can admire the mullioned windows and the monumental fireplaces.
Exhibitions at Palazzo Strozzi
Since 2006, the year of the birth of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, the palace has hosted more than 50 exhibitions dedicated to art from every era, from ancient to modern and contemporary.
In the building there are various exhibition spaces: the main floor, the courtyard, Strozzina and the facade. Each of these spaces can be dedicated to a specific exhibition and it is not uncommon to find two distinct exhibitions at the same time. In 2022, the Donatello, il Rinascimento exhibition, created in collaboration with the Bargello Museum, was joined by Let’s Get Digital! a review dedicated to digital art and NFTs. Only in 2016, on the occasion of the Ai Weiwei exhibition. Free, all spaces have been dedicated to a single artist.
Among the most successful exhibitions we also find Pontormo e Rosso Fiorentino (2014), Tomás Saraceno. Aria (2020), American Art 1961-2001 and Jeff Koons. Shine (2021). Also of great impact was JR‘s La Ferita (2021) which proposed a reflection on accessibility to places of culture in the era of Covid-19.
The other large exhibition space is that of the Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzinar, which is located in the Strozzina, that is, the rooms under the courtyard of the building, where once there were the ancient cellars of the Strozzis. Interesting contemporary art exhibition projects are hosted here, according to an interdisciplinary approach that is based on the most recent scientific research and current trends in the contemporary world.
Hours, tickets and reservations
Hours and tickets vary according to the exhibitions and events taking place at the palace. You can find all the latest information on the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation website. Also on the same site there are contacts to request further information and book a visit.