Palazzo Gondi was built by Giuliano Gondi the Elder in 1489, on a project by Giuliano da Sangallo.
The palace is therefore one of the great Renaissance palaces of the Florentine bankers, imposing with the altana overlooking the city. But in various periods a very large terrace was added on the first floor, in the shadow of Palazzo Vecchio and two terraces at the height of the roof terrace where you can enjoy the splendid panorama of all the monuments of the historic center.
After six years of careful restoration, Palazzo Gondi is a Renaissance palace, but with all modern comforts. It is a place where it is possible to organize elegant dinners, cultural and corporate events, conferences , weddings e movie sets on the first floor using both the beautiful halls including the main one with the large fireplace in strong stone carved by Giuliano da Sangallo, and the large terrace overlooking Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio. While on the top floor there is a very elegant Period residence where you can stay, which can also be used for more exclusive events both in the living rooms with panoramic windows, and on the terraces that dominate and are surrounded by all the monuments of the city.
The Gondi are an ancient and noble Florentine family of which we have news since the time of Charlemagne. They were podestàs of the Florentine Republic, merchants of wool and auroserici fabrics, gold beater, bankers, ambassadors with the Medici.
The "Compagnia Gondi" had offices not only in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Poland but also in Constantinople and Calcutta. They had important political positions especially in Florence and Naples while they held fundamental government positions in France with the two queens Catherine and Maria dei Medici. Both in Italy and in France related to the most important families.
Giuliano Gondi the Elder, the one who had the Palace built in Piazza San Firenze, married Maddalena di Filippo Strozzi at the first wedding. While his cousin, Elena Gondi, known as Lena, was the mother of Jacopo Salviati and therefore she was the cousin of Lorenzo the Magnificent and mother of Maria, mother of Cosimo I and Leone XI.
In France, however, Antonio, master of the palace of the Duke of Anjou, is famous because he funded, together with the Florentine Gondi, Giovanni da Verrazzano's first trip in which the Bay of New York and Florida was discovered. His son Alberto, Duke of Retz, Ambassador and Marshal of France, married Claude Catherine de Clermont Dampierre and was also lord of Noisy Le Roi and Versailles. Her son, Carlo Marchese di Belle Île, was the husband of Antoniette d'Orléans-Longueville, he was also general of the galleys.
The family coat of arms is "two iron maces in the cross of Sant'Andrea" in the gold field, which bears the family motto "Non Sine Labore".
The Palace was built by Giuliano Gondi il Vecchio in 1489, on a project by Giuliano da Sangallo and aligns with the tradition of the great Florentine patrician palaces, such as Palazzo Strozzi and Palazzo Medici Riccardi, but with a renewed stylistic reinterpretation.
The area in which it stands occupies what was once the ancient Roman Florentia theater, whose extension also included the entire perimeter of Palazzo Vecchio.
Giuliano Gondi, in 1455 bought Palazzo Giugni in the Santa Croce district and rented the adjoining tower of the Art of Merchants, in which there was the office of Ser Piero da Vinci father of Leonardo, who became sub-tenant of Giuliano for 30 florins l 'year. Tower which then bought in 1485 and remained incorporated in the palace until the 800s.
Leonardo da Vinci therefore frequented this house, and resumed from the windows the drawing of the corpse of Bernardo Bandini, after the conspiracy of the Pazzi, arrested in Constantinople, where the Gondi had a bench and hanged in Piazza San Firenze. In memory of this, a plaque is placed in the entrance hall from Via dei Gondi. Furthermore, Leonardo indicated the Gondi as his testamentary executors, for the Florentine part.
Giuliano da Sangallo also designed the famous Gondi Chapel in Santa Maria Novella where the Gondi, by concession of Cosimo I and the Friars "posed to embellish it" the wooden Crucifix by Brunelleschi, the famous Christ of the Eggs.
In June 1495 Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, was welcomed by Giuliano Gondi, with all the honors in the newly finished palace.
Already in 1901 Palazzo Gondi appears as a monumental building to be considered national artistic heritage, in the list drawn up this year by the General Directorate of Antiquities and Fine Arts, and is mentioned in the UNESCO bond of the historic center of Florence.
The environments of Palazzo Gondi
The silent and majestic courtyard attracts attention for the richness and value of its sculptural decorations, which contrast with the sobriety of the facade. It is considered one of the most beautiful courtyards of Renaissance Florence.
The courtyard of Palazzo Gondi is traditional: Sangallo in fact followed the Florentine style using arches on columns rather than what was his normal preference, the arches and piers motif present in his other buildings in Naples. The element that distinguishes it from other Florentine courtyards is also the use of an external staircase.
The Noble Floor
The main floor is characterized by a large living room with a coffered ceiling. Note the monumental fireplace, made of strong stone, designed by Giuliano da Sangallo and surmounted by two large statues, Hercules and Samson, who, like Numi Tutelari, protect the door and windows of the building.
On the walls there are a series of portraits of the most famous characters of the important French branch, which supported the two Medici queens, Caterina and Maria. Adjacent, two lounges with frescoes by Matteo Bonechi and Niccolò Contestabili.
The Historical Altana
A few meters from Palazzo Vecchio, on the roofs at the height of the fifteenth-century altana, there is an apartment with terraces overlooking Florence. From the terraces it is possible to enjoy a unique panorama.