Borgo San Frediano is across the Arno river, or ‘diladdarno’, as the Florentines say. Rooms as big as private apartments. It’s a choice, not luxury
Borgo San Frediano is across the Arno river, or ‘diladdarno’, as the Florentines say. It was the entrance road for traffic coming from Pisa and from the port of Livorno. Houses, towers, Renaissance palaces and old churches: today you can still image what ancient Florence looked like. Five minutes from Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Magnani Feroni Florence, a sixteenth century aristocratic residence, is today a city hotel.
The façade on Via dei Serragli, despite various renovations, can still be attributed to Zanobi Del Rosso. At the center of the piano nobile is a sculpted Feroni family coat-of-arms, with smaller and older ones set into the walls on either side. On that street, which is relatively modest, the facade stretches for sixteen bays on two floors plus a mezzanine.
The Renaissance is evoked in the furnishings and in each of the 160 square meters of the hall. Statues, frescoes – everything as an eighteenth century Florentine residence might have appeared. The lobby is in an atrium that looks out onto the courtyard – a portico that was probably once open, a loggia perhaps for carriages and horses. The size is what strikes you – everywhere is spacious – and it characterizes every room. It isn’t luxury – there is no fine attention to detail – but everything is well thought-out. The bathrooms are like those of a normal private home. Refinement has no place here – some prefer substance.
Breakfast on the upper floor, a Murano glass candelabra fills the silent room. Simple food, like home cooking – yet with those good manners that recall fine aristocratic ways. If time permits, steep flights of stairs lead to a loggia on the rooftop – spacious too, a surprise for Florence.
In 1770, the marquise Feroni bought the palazzo, extended it and decorated the apartments on the ground and first floor. In the nineteenth century the property passed to the Magnani family. The palazzo was purchased by the family of its current owner and became Galleria Salvadori, one of Europe’s leading galleries. Twelve suites decorated with antique furniture and tapestries from the Salvadori collection. Wood, tapestries, mirrors with Baroque frames and frescoes – of all the hotels in Florence, this is one to keep in mind.
Text Ornella Fusco
Borgo S. Frediano, 5