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Bernini Palace Hotel

History: 
    Bernini Palace Hotel
 in Florence

History

Overlooking the Palazzo Vecchio, the prestigious Bernini Palace Hotel, is housed in a 15th century palace, located in the heart of Florence, steps from the Piazza della Signoria and the Uffizi Gallery.

The hotel played a key role in the events that transformed Florence into the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. From 1865 to 1870 it was the center of national political intrigue with Parliament members meeting regularly. This particular era is now represented by the hotel's round frescoes adorning the Hall of Breakfast.

The Building
Located just outside the first circle of walls protecting the Roman city, originally named Florentia, and early Medieval Florence where the Medieval alleyway of Borgo dei Greci

Situated on the corner of Via dei Leoni and Borgo dei Greci , a meandering alleyway dating back to the medieval period, the hotel is located just outside the first circle of walls protecting the Roman city, originally named Florentia, and medieval Florence. The building was once owned by the Pera family, prominent Florentine financiers who are mentioned in the final section of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Today, on the side of the hotel, there is a marble plaque recalling the rich and powerful family during Dante’s time: “The gateway, named from those of Pera, led into the narrow circuit of your wells” (Paradiso, Canto XVI).

For centuries, the building has been devoted to hospitality. During the seventeenth century, it was the only hotel in Florence with running water and shelter for guests’ animals. By the mid-nineteenth century the palace was already known as an elegant hotel, known as the Hotel of the Shield of France. However, it was not until Florence became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy (1865-1871), that the building had its greatest moment of glory when The Shield of France became the Columbia Parlamento Hotel.

Due to its convenient location, it was the place to meet for members of the House of Parliament, who gathered at Palazzo Vecchio, and the senators, who gathered at Palazzo Pitti. Some members chose to establish their permanent residence at the hotel, while others spent their mealtimes having informal discussions, establishing alliances, and striking agreements that marked the destinies of the first tumultuous years of the Kingdom. During this particular time, the hotel was transformed to its current look as seen by today’s guests.

When the capital transferred to Rome, the hotel fell out of popularity until the 1980s, when major renovation was initiated. The recovery process culminated in the discovery of many key features of the building.

A large frescoed room on the first floor of the Bernini Palace Hotel is one of the treasures of this historic Italian hotel. It features portraits of the protagonists of Italian Unification, including Garibaldi, Nero Corsini, Cosimo Ridolfi, Giuseppe Montanelli, Vincenzo Salvagnoli, and Manfredo Fanti. The fresco also pays tribute to the famous people from Piedmont, Cavour, Brofferio, Balbo, and Gioberti, Lamarmora, and Valerio, Giuseppe Farina, and the hero of the of the Republic of San Marco, Daniele Manin. During the 1980s restoration a sixteenth-century gallery was discovered on the ground floor, which had been almost completely hidden from view previously. Another discovery was a series of niches decorated with female heads coiffed with curious hats, in memory of a former exhibition in the lobby of the hotel in the early 1900s.

Bernini Palace Hotel, a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide since 2015, dates back to the 15th century.


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International Numbers

Austria 08000706176
Belgium 080081830
France 805542721
Germany 8007241217
Ireland 1800995320
Italy 800979444
Netherlands 08000200956
Norway 80054304
Spain 900814719
Switzerland 0800001798
UK 8009179622
Book by Phone: +1 866 670 3764
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