Historic Building and Museum in Florence
The Palace, originally built by the Davizzi family around the mid-14th century, was later purchased in 1578 by the Davanzati family (whose coat of arms can still be seen on the facade). They held ownership until 1838 when it was divided into multiple flats and suffered significant damage.
In 1904, the antique dealer Elia Volpi acquired the property and carried out extensive restoration and furnishing, opening it to the public in 1910 as the Museum of the Old Florentine House. After several changes and the dispersion of some furniture pieces, the palace was bought by the State in 1951, which reorganized it and reopened it to the public in 1956.
The most noteworthy feature of the palace is its architectural structure, representing an intriguing example of a 13th-century home, showcasing the transition from a medieval tower house to a Renaissance building. The original facade featured a three-arch loggia, which is now closed but was once open and used as a shop. At the top of the building, a 16th-century loggia replaced the typical medieval battlements.
Inside, there is an underground gallery and a charming courtyard on the ground floor, leading to a stone and wood staircase with arches that rise up to the four upper floors. The arrangement of the rooms on the first floor mirrors that of the third floor. The rooms consist of a “madornale,” which includes a large audience hall, dining rooms, bedrooms, and “agiamenti” (toilets), a rarity in elegant houses of that period. All rooms have terracotta floors and wooden ceilings, some adorned with paintings. The walls in some rooms are decorated with frescoes and popular Florentine 13th-century decorations, featuring curtains and coat of arms. Notably, the Sala dei Pappagalli (The Parrot Room) and the Bedroom with scenes of the life of the Lady of Vergi are among the most beautiful rooms.
The Museum aims to recreate the setting of an old Florentine home, showcasing furniture and household tools from the 14th to the 19th centuries. Bedrooms exhibit chests filled with linen and cots, while the audience hall on the first floor displays a rare painted cabinet from the 16th century, The Game of Civettino wooden painting by Giovanni di Ser Giovanni (nicknamed “Scheggia”) from the 15th century, and a marble bust of a Child by Antonio Rossellino, also dating back to the 15th century. Additionally, the museum houses a fine collection of old ceramics and 17th-century hand warmers shaped like shoes.
A significant document in the history of the family and the palace is the Genealogical tree of the Davanzati Family, a work by an anonymous Tuscan painter from the 17th century. Recently, the State acquired a rare wooden chest or throne-bed with inlaid front and headboard, manufactured in the Tuscan-Umbran area during the last quarter of the 15th century.
On the third floor, the kitchen exhibits furniture and ordinary daily household items, along with working tools like looms, warping machines, and spinning wheels that document the various activities carried out in the house.
The Museum also boasts an exquisite collection of lacework from the 16th to the 20th centuries and samplers.
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Visiting Palazzo Davanzati
08.15-13.50 Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 13.15-18.50 Friday, Saturday, Sunday (2nd and 4th of the month)
€7.00 or Cumulative ticket for Bargello, Medici Chapels, Davanzati, Orsanmichele and Casa Martelli: € 22.00