Art&Style

Palazzo Strozzi in Firenze

The secrets of one of the symbols of the Italian Renaissance

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets

From the esoteric quirk of its founder, Filippo Strozzi, a great man of the Italian Renaissance, to the genius of one of the greatest art curators of our time, Arturo Galansino, Palazzo Strozzi has been the protagonist of Florentine cultural life for 500 years.

The palace, gigantic in its proportions, was built at the behest of Filippo Strozzi, Italian politician, leader and banker, the most famous exponent of one of the most powerful dynasties in Italy who, due to political conflicts with the Medici family, was removed from Florence in 1434. Thanks to his successes, in particular as a banker in Naples, Filippo was able to return to his city only in 1466.

To show his newfound power, Strozzi decided to raise the largest and tallest palace of the time, obviously more than that of the Medici, and, to do so, he bought and had 15 buildings destroyed around the space designated to house his home.

The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets

Filippo Strozzi devoted his life to building a residence with the ambition of creating the “largest and finest palazzo” in Florence.

Fine humanist, able to translate from Latin and Greek works that are still up-to-date today, brother-in-law of Lorenzo de’ Medici, friend and patron of Niccolò Macchiavelli, himself defined as an ‘imaginative prince’ for his fine political skills, for the construction the building he relied on the theories of the cabala. Expression of the scientific laws that govern the world, it also influenced the proportions of the architecture of Palazzo Strozzi theorized as an ideal of beauty and universal mathematical perfection.

Thus, to establish the most opportune moment for the laying of the first stone, he entrusted the astrologer Benedetto Biliotti, who advised on August 6, 1489, under the sign of Leo. In addition, he composed the coat of arms of his family, three crescent moons that symbolize the auspices of the family’s fortunes, in a modern logo that we find in various decorations of the building, an esoteric symbol of aspiration to divine perfection.

The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets

Filippo did not live long to see his palace completed, but the logo with the three moons is still there, after 500 years, to welcome the many visitors who visit this Italian Renaissance masterpiece each year, chosen as the emblem of the Foundation. Palazzo Strozzi, born in 2006 as the first example of a public-private cultural foundation in Italy.

Since 2015, the general director is Arturo Galansino, a PhD in History and Art Criticism in Turin and an international career between the INHA in Paris, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts from London, who returned to Italy because he was attracted by the possibility of recreating a project here following the example of that of the great English museums.

The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets

A successful bet that has given life to an innovative curatorial model that mixes the greatest international contemporary artists, from Ai Weiwei to Marina Abramović up to Jeff Koons, focusing on site-specific works of great media impact, to the rediscovery of the ancient, in particular the geniuses of great talent but less known by the masses such as Verrocchio, Leonardo’s teacher.


Not without some coup de théâtre. Like the work of JR, one of the most famous contemporary artists in the world, who “gutted” the facade of the symbol of the Renaissance in Florence or, just ended, the first major Italian exhibition dedicated to the artists of Crypto Art.

The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets

And until January 22, 2023, Palazzo Strozzi hosts Olafur Eliasson: In your time, the largest exhibition ever held in Italy dedicated to one of the most original and visionary contemporary artists of our time. Not to be missed.

In addition, there is no shortage of new arrivals: in addition to Bottega Strozzi, an art boutique and bookshop born from a collaboration with Marsilio Editori and recently renovated, the launch of the new café in the museum space is just around the corner.

(Credits Olafur Eliasson’s exhibition copyright Ela Bialkowska OKNOstudio)

The Secret

And for the attentive visitor gifted with intelligent irony, we suggest, on the ground floor, the witty parallelism between the two permanent artworks symbols of his avant-garde Filippo Strozzi’s vision: the model of the palace from 1489 and the portrait of Filippo Strozzi in LEGO created by Ai Weiwei in 2017 as a tribute to the history of Florence.

The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets
The secrets of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence — Toscana Secrets

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Palazzo Strozzi

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