Palazzo Pandolfini

Via San Gallo, 74. (Open Map)


This palace, one of the first to be built in the north-west corner of the walled city at the end of theFirenze, Palazzo Pandolfini, Il giardino decorato da statue 15th century, had a small "Garden of Delights" and a larger vegetable garden. Vasari writes that the building was redesigned by Raphael, probably in 1514, for the bishop Giannozzo Pandolfini. The garden and the palace were embellished with statues, fountains and water displays - gifts from Pope Leo X - and such a large quantity of flowers and plants that the palace became quite a centre of culture at the time of Ferrante (ca. 1550), Filippo (ca. 1600), Roberto (ca. 1750) and other members of the family. In the late 18th century, the so-called "palace branch" of the Pandolfini family would have died out if Eleonora, daughter of Agnolo, had not adopted her nephew Alessio. Through Eleonora, who had a hothouse built to contain her collection of ornamental plants in winter, the palace enjoyed a new lease of life, and once again hosted artists and men of letters as it had in the Renaissance. From 1870 to around 1885 Alessio continued with the renovation of the building; this restoration scheme was followed by two more, in 1954-1956 and in 1994-1996 by Filippo Pandolfini, father of the current owners Roberto and Niccolò. The garden that had been transformed by Eleonora into a "romantic English-style garden" returned to its original splendour through the wife of count Alessio, Sofronia Stibbert, who also became an expert gardener. Her collections of camellias and cinerarias are famous, and certain botanical rarities which she cultivated were awarded prizes by the Botanical Society of Horticulture in the late 19th century. Her son Roberto built an orchid hothouse above the conservatory for his wife Beatrice Corsini, the last alteration made to the splendid Pandolfini residence.