I have to admit that since my first visit to Florence many years ago, I haven’t bothered myself again with the main art museums that everyone comes here to see – the Accademia and Uffizzi. Don’t get me wrong, they are absolutely worth visiting, but once you already have, it’s honestly a relief to be able to avoid the bulk of the Disneyland-esque crowds and waiting, and get to see other things in the city with a bit more calm.
Florence has no shortage of beautiful palazzi you can visit, exhibiting everything from classic Renaissance frescoes and furniture to contemporary art. Palazzo Strozzi is one of these, located in the fashionable Tournabioni district just a few steps away from Piazza della Repubblica (go through the huge arch and you will already see it at the next corner).
Because of its convenient central location, I found myself stopping by just to sit and rest for a little while – and even in the open courtyard there was something interesting and beautiful to gaze at: this installation by artist Federico Gori. A tree is suspended in the open air, and hovering above the ground are copper plates marked by impressions of leaves, like footprints of seasons past made permanent. The piece is meant to bring up themes of life and death, permanence and ephemerality, strength and weakness (I’ve included the full explanation of the installation below).
Another fantastic reason (for some people perhaps the only reason) to visit Palazzo Strozzi is for the excellent caffè to one side of their courtyard. Run by Giacosa (whose main business is just a few steps away on Via della Spada, part of the Roberto Cavalli store), they made me one of the most delectable as well as beautiful cappuccinos I’ve ever had — with wisps of sweet chocolate painted on the surface.
For more information: http://www.palazzostrozzi.org