Let us be clear on one thing — Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1 is not your average hotel. Set in a medieval tower dating back to the 1200s, this unique property has been home to a noble lineage of residents, including Priors, war commissioners, ambassadors and even several knights. Set on one of the most iconic and ‘fashionable’ streets of Florence — Via Tornabuoni — you can almost feel the history that permeates throughout every room. If only walls could talk…
Originally built by the Guelf Ruggerini family during the early thirteenth century, this ‘tower residence’ changed hands several times over before it was inherited by another Guelf family; bankers and traders called The Gianfigliazzi. The Gianfigliazzi family were one of the most powerful in Florence. They owned an extensive portfolio of properties and during their time produced prominent heirs that reached as far as the Knights of the Golden Spur order. Dante even mentions them in two of his works, Purgatory III as well as Inferno XVII. This distinguished residence would stay in the Gianfigliazzi family until the last remaining member, Canonico Rinaldo of Lodovico, died in 1764. His tomb now rests at the Basilica of Santa Trinita located next to the Antica Torre Tornabuoni in Piazza Santa Trinita.
By the early 1900s, the second floor of the tower housed the Pensione Piccioli, a privileged residence for British aristocrats, artists, musicians and literati. In fact in 1932 and 1935 respectively, the notable Russian writers, Dmitri Merezkovskil and Zenaide Hippius, were both known to have stayed there. Sadly the Pensione was closed down after World War II, but thanks to some family descendants, re-opened in 2001 under the new name of Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1; which would later become the Residenza d’Epoca (Historic Residence) Palazzo Gianfigliazzi of Via Tornabuoni 1, in 2008.
Today, the owner of this illustrious property is an aristocratic family from Milan called the Rusconi Clerici, and the brothers and sisters still manage the property together successfully.
Thanks to the careful restoration of this crenellated stone tower, the Antica Torre remains the city’s best-preserved medieval ‘tower residence’, and has succeeded in retaining the building’s architectural heritage whilst resurrecting its former charm — you can still see many of the original features such as the arched windows, turrets and brown stone façade. There are almost 20 rooms at the Antica Torre (some are also housed in the neighbouring 19th century Palazzo Gianfigliazzi), and no two are alike. Whilst every room boasts different characteristics and furnishings, the one thing they share in common is the overwhelming sense that you are sleeping amongst aristocracy. Despite its age, this opulent hotel is both impeccably preserved and the epitome of comfort and luxury. But perhaps one of the best features are the rooftop terraces. Florence is a spectacular city by any standards, but from either of the two terraces you’re blessed with unparalleled panoramic views that you simply cannot put a price on. Whether you’re sipping your morning cappuccino or watching the sun set that evening, the views will take your breath away. To the one side you have the stunning Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the hills of Fiesole and on the other, the Arno River, as well as the great monuments of the Oltrarno.
A stay at the Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1 is unlike any other. Not only do you get to experience an authentic piece of Florence’s history, you actually get to relive it.
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