Florence Free Tour
Florence Free Tour
Florence Free tour

The Palazzo delle Cento Finestre, already known as Palazzo del Centauro, is located in Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore in Florence. On four sides, in fact, a number of openings of just under one hundred is placed. In this site there were in ancient times the houses of the hesses, of the Carnesecchi and perhaps of the Martini. At the end of the fifteenth century numerous of these buildings were purchased by Michele di Carlo Strozzi, but only at the beginning of the eighteenth century a real noble palace was built, probably since 1720. In 1744 Giuseppe Zocchi already included a view of the «Palazzo del Sig . Marquis Strozzi, of the centaur, and the road that leads to S. M. Novella »in the famous series of engravings of views of Florence. The «Centauro» appellation derives from the fact that at the time the sculptural group of Giambologna di Ercole with Centauro Nesso was located in front of the building, at the song of the Carnesecchi, where they converged via dei Cerretani, via Panzani, via de ‘Rondinelli and via dei Banchi, and only just before the mid -nineteenth century was he moved to the Loggia dei Lanzi. Since then the building has been known as «of the hundred windows».

In 1757 Jacopo Carlieri in the restricted things of the most notable things in the city of Florence reported the palace not only as a complete, but also as already passed to the Martini family. From a cadastral description of 1801 it is clear that the palace was externally very similar to today, while the internal environments were arranged in a different way: there is no longer the central staircase with a large central compartment that led to the two main apartments in which the building was divided . In addition to the narrow via Teatina, the stables and the service rooms of the building were existed: an elevated passage still existing connects the main building to these structures. In 1810 the building was purchased by Elisabetta Ganucci, widow Galli Tassi, and it was probably then that the renovation and embellishment works that determined the monumental current forms of the internal environments of the building were started.

Three rooms on the first floor along via de ‘Cerretani still present the decorations of those years, as frescoes with mythological and allegorical subjects , attributed to the head of the neoclassical painting in Florence, the Prato Luigi Catani, perhaps assisted by Gasparo Bargioni. During the period of Florence Capital, the Palace hosted the Prefecture of the Province of Florence. In 1868 the Province moved to Palazzo Medici-Riccardi and the palace was sold by Baron Isaac Franchetti, of Jewish and noble origin since 1859 for the merits towards Casa Savoia, who had the palace from Giuseppe Poggi rearrange. The architect of the Piazzale Michelangelo intervened outside, adding the balcony on the portal and the eardrums on the windows of the main floor, in the entrance hall by prolonging it towards the internal courtyard, to allow the access of the carriages, and reconstructed the monumental staircase equipped with large ones windows that illuminated the rooms.

The most interesting internal environment is the large ballroom, where the original colors of the Poggi era have recently been rediscovered: blue plaster with stuccos and architectural elements with relief in white. The decorative medallions reproduce themes related to music and dance and surround a fresco of a winged goddess on a cloud, with flowers and putti, probably dating back to the years between seven and nineteenth centuries. A study decorated with grotesque and landscapes, and the dining room, with painted hunting scenes, also dates back to the same period. In 1875, after a new change of ownership, the building lost the function of private residence: inside offices were obtained and the shops on the first floor were opened, replacing the windows that can still be seen today on the windows kneeling. In the twentieth century, from the 1940s to 1967 he hosted the Rai regional headquarters, then of an insurance company and today of Banca Popolare di Milano.

If you want discover more about the city of Florence come with us, we are running a Florence free tour from Santa Maria Novella square. Our tour is totally free, and with our official tour guide of Florence you will have de possibility to see many site in tow with very original and unique stories.