History

Palazzo Capponi alle Rovinate is located in Via dei Bardi 36 in Florence, its other entrance on Lungarno Torrigiani 25.

The building, originally owned by the banker and politician Niccolò da Uzzano, dates from 1406 onwards, according  to Vasari designed by Lorenzo di Bicci ,and finished around 1424. More recent scholarship also suggests that the young Filippo Brunelleschi may have participated in the project , based on existing similarities with Palazzo Busini-Bardi in via de ' Benci (1430). After Niccolo’s(1435)and his brother Agnolo‘s death (1433), the palace passed to a branch of the Capponi family  known as "the Rovinate" named  after   the multiple  landslides occuring on the Costa dei Magnoli, known also as Poggio delle Rovinate, the hill facing the building  .

The façade on the Lungarno Torrigiani, in neo-Renaissance style, was instead built by Giuseppe Poggi between 1872 and 1878 at the same time  the Lungarno was created.

The façade on the via de 'Bardi still shows  late Gothic architectural features, with rustication  on the ground floor and an even row of mullioned windows on the first floor (now partly modified and replaced by rectangular openings) and square windows on the upper levels .

Nevertheless, there are some innovative features that will become typical  during  the Renaissance,such as the orderly floor  plan, more or less square in shape, built around a central courtyard. The latter is considered the first known Renaissance style courtyard  with graffiti in part dating back to the fifties of the fifteenth century;  the archways on all sides, partially filled in at some point in  the eighteenth century.

At the entrance on via dei Bardi an ancient fresco, perhaps by Lorenzo di Bicci, is  still visible, showing two winged figures holding the Da Uzzano coat of arms ; above it one can see the portrait of Niccolo da Uzzano  dating  back to 1887 and inspired by Niccolo’s  bust attributed to Donatello once kept in the palazzo and now in the Bargello. The  Capponi court of arms  embellishes both facades.

Inside the Palace

At the foot of the stairs is a porphyry lion, said in the 1530s to have been much admired by Lorenzo the Magnificent.  It is of Roman origin, 2nd century AD, and was part of a large basin or bathtub.  There were four lions total, two on each side cut from the same piece of porphyry.  The accompanying half of this lion has disappeared.  The other two travelled auction houses in the west for most of this century, and are now in the Metropolitan Museum in NYC.  There are two stories of how this lion made its way to Florence.  The first says that Niccolò da Uzzano bought the lion in Rome, the lion being a symbol of Florence and doubtless a powerful image to be placed here just outside Uzzano’s office.  It’s unlikely that Uzzano bought the lion out of some great love for the antique characteristic of the Renaissance, for he was more of a merchant of the late Middle Ages in his outlook than he was an avid antiquarian of the Renaissance.  The other story of the lion’s provenance claims that it came to Florence by other means in the 1420s and was purchased here by Uzzano.

On the first floor there is a small chapel refurbished in the eighteenth century , where one can see above the altar the Madonna and Child an important painting by Pontormo.

It probably came from the Capponi Chapel in Santa Felicita , together with the original stained glass window with Christ’s Entombent , created  by Guillaume de Marcillat in 1526.

In the palace it is also preserved the terracotta model of the bronze altarpiece that the sculptor Pietro Tacca molded for the Church of Saints Stephen and Cecilia.

Capponi family history

Originating perhaps from the Sienese countryside, the Capponi were already in Florence at the beginning of the thirteenth century: the first record concerns one Cappone Capponi, listed as member of the silk guild in 1215. However in a 1056 parchment of the Abbey of Passignano preserved in the  State Archives of Florence , an "UgucciodictoCapponio" is mentioned, which would confirm the origin of the Capponi from the Florentine southern countryside.

In their early days the Capponi traded both in wool and silk and soon  , like other Florentine prominent families, created their own bank with subsidiaries in Milan, Bologna,  Lyon and in the East. Political offices were almost a consequence of the wealth and prestige gained,  the family counting  ten Gonfalonieri of Justice and fifty six  Priors of the Guilds among its members.

The most famous Capponi was Piero di Gino , diplomat and leader who in 1494 stood up to King Charles VIII of France, descended into Italy with an army to conquer Naples. In response to king’s threats  to sound his trumpets thus giving the order to his troops to sack Capponi retorted:

"And if ye sound your trumpets we shall ring  our bells! »

Capponi, with an heroic gesture, snatched from  the hand of king's herald the paper on which Charles VIII had laid down his conditions and tore it to pieces. Capponi’s  firm stance, convinced the king , who was not eager to be embroiled in an urban fight, to tone down his demands.

Another famous family member was Lodovico the elder  patron of Jacopo Pontormo to whom he commissioned his masterpiece, the Deposition  from The Cross in the Capponi Chapel in Santa Felicita, while  his son Lodovico Capponi the younger was portrayed by the  famous painter Agnolo Bronzino now displayed in the Frick Collection of New York.

The years of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany  was, for the Capponi family,  a period of renewed strength, both political and economic , with a certain emphasis on farming activities.

Another eminent family member was Gino Capponi sometimes referred to as the last descendant of the family: in reality he belonged to  an ancient, now extinct branch, but the Capponi still flourish to this day. The important statesman and litterato was one of the key figures of the Italian Risorgimento, deserving to   be buried in the Santa Croce Basilica alongside the great Italians of all time.

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Apartments to rent

Our exclusive apartments, classic and stylish,  offer a great Florentine experience: spacious and refined rooms, with full services and beautiful terraces to discover at any time of day the beauty of Florence.

Exclusive benefits for the guests of the apartments in Florence:

- Guided tour and tasting at Villa Calcinaia

On the ground floor the concierge is open all days from 8.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 2.00 pm to 7.00 pm.

ORLOV

The apartment has been refurbished in May 2016 and is located on the ground floor of Palazzo Capponi alle Rovinate. The unit is formed by two ancient rooms  with vaulted ceilings and frescoes. The apartment faces the Arno river and Florence major monuments. There is one master bedroom, one kitchen and dining room, one dressing room with a sofabed, one shower bathroom and one toilette.

Complimentary baby care equipment (high chair, cot and change unit) on request.

IL TORRINO

Unique apartment displaying a marvelous terrace at the top floor of Palazzo Capponi. The exclusive feature of this accommodation is the stunning view of the whole  city of Florence.

The apartment called Il Torrino has been restored in May 2015. The  apartment develops on three levels: on the first level, right at the entrance of the apartment, there is  one master bedroom and one dressing   room. On the second level there is one living room and one bathroom with shower with hot steam sauna. The third level is a mezzanine with a kitchenette with one sink, one refrigerator, two stoves and a dining room on the same level. The third level has a beautiful terrace with a stunning view of the entire city of Florence. The terrace is furnished with one table and chairs. The second terrace on the fourth level is a solarium and it is furnished with two deck  chairs . On the first and second terrace you can admire the most amazing view of Florence and the hills surrounding the city.

 

The unit is on the fourth floor . The lift stops on the third floor and there are 12 steps that lead to the entrance of the apartment.

ERMELINDA

The apartment Ermelinda, refurbished in February   2016 , is located in the heart of the historic center of Florence within walking distance of Ponte Vecchio in one of the oldest Renaissance buildings of the city. The unit develops on one level and has one master  bedroom, one bathroom with shower, one  fully equipped kitchen  with dishwasher, electric stoves and refrigerator, one living-dining room with table, chairs, one sofa and one armchair . The master bedroom and living room of the apartment have windows overlooking the old medieval street of via dei Bardi. Complimentary baby care equipment (high chair, changing unit, cot)  on request. Extra bed on request.

The unit is on the first floor and a staircase of 17 steps leads to the entrance of the apartment.

Complimentary baby care equipment (high chair, cot and change unit)  on request.

Alvaro

Located on ground floor, this apartment features 18th century frescoes on the wall in the living room Free Wifi.

Loft Vighen

The loft is located on ground floor in one of Palazzo LarionideiBardi. The apartment Vighen has been renovated in September 2017. It is one of the high ceiling rooms of one of the most important renaissance palace in Florence called  LarionideiBardi

Palazzo LarionideiBardiwas built by the Bardi family  in the late fourteenth century over the walls of two ancient hospitals, one of which, built in 1283 by the Compagnia Maggiore dellaVergine Maria, was dedicated to Saint Lucia . Two the Bardi-Larioni coat of arms can still be seen on the 

Contacts

Via De' Bardi, 36
50125 - Firenze - Italy





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