Palazzo Pucci Overview
Palazzo Pucci is located in Via dei Pucci, 6, close toVia Cavour which leads to Piazza di San Marco.
The design of the magnificent palace was commissioned by the Pucci family, in the second half of the 16th century, to the celebrated Tuscan mannerist architect and sculptor Bartolommeo Ammanatti (1511-1592).
As a sculptor, his style is very much influenced by the art of the brilliant Michelangelo.
Before returning to Florence in 1557, Ammanatti had collaborated in Rome with two of the most famous architects of his age in the construction of the villa of Pope Julius III: Giacomo da Vignola (1507-1573, who was the favourite architect of the Pope) and Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574, architect, painter, expert and writer on art).
Vasari returned to Florence in 1547 and he remained bind for the rest of his life to Cosimo I de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
In Rome, Ammanati also designed the Palazzo Ruspoli and the court of the Collegio Romano. When he came back to Florence, he was designated by Cosimo I de Medici as architect to his family. Ammanati projected and conducted the work of the Ponte di Santa Trinità (a wonderful bridge over the Arno River) and several important fountains (the most famous is the “Neptune” one, located in Piazza della Signoria). Overmore Palazzo Pucci, he designed the façade of Palazzo Pitti, the Palazzo Guigni and the cloister of the Church dello Santo Spirito.
When the construction of the palace was ended the Pucci family went definitively to reside in it.
During the centuries, the Pucci Palace has been restored several times, but its central body still preserves the splendid architectural savoir faire of Bartolommeo Ammanati: the original stoned pavement on the ground floor; the amazing and large central window; the family emblem with the cardinal’s hat and the large masks on the broken open tympanum of the windows located on the second floor. From the main entrance, through an ancient iron ornamented high fence, there is the access to the pretty courtyard which, as well as the ground floor, can be currently visited.
The Pucci family, from ancient Tuscan lineage, knew several centuries of power and notoriety especially due to their banking and trade activities and also to their closeness to the Tuscany government.
Since the early Renaissance, through a tradition started by Puccio Pucci, the family was also known as one of the most prestigious patrons of art in Florence. For instance, their patronage to Sandro Botticelli is especially known. In 1483, in occasion of the marriage of Giannozzo Pucci and Lucrezia Bini, Antonio Pucci entrusted to Botticelli a cycle of four panels (considered as one of the masterpieces of his last artistic period) depicting the tale of “Nastagio degli Onesti”, from the “Decameron” by Giovanni Boccaccio. The first three panels were painted by Botticceli together with a few assistants of his studio. The fourth one was created by Sandro Botticelli with the collaboration of Bartolomeo di Giovanni, a celebrated Tuscan painter who had been pupil and assistant to the brilliant Domenico Ghirlandaio.
As it was usual, the patron and other illustrious persons of his social entourage were also portrayed in the paintings. Antonio Pucci, father of Giannozo, comes out on the third panel. On the fourth one, moreover than other Florentine persons, as well as their respective coats of arms, it is represented - in the central part of the panel - the Medici coat of arms. It is said that Lorenzo de Medici planned that wedding.
The panels pertained to the Pucci family until 1868.
The first three panels were acquired, in 1927 ca, by the Spanish politician and economist Francesc Cambó i Batlle (Girona, 1876 - Buenos Aires, 1946). In 1941, when Cambó went to reside in Buenos Aires he granted those panels to the Spanish State, among other Italian Renaissance paintings coming from his outstanding private art collection.
The panels by Botticelli were hosted in the Prado Museum in Madrid. They are displayed in Room 49th.
The fourth panel, which has been exhibited in 2004 in Florence during a temporary art exhibition held at the Palazzo Strozzi, was purchased by Emilio Pucci in 1960 at auction. It is now preserved in a private collection.
Nevertheless the friendship and the political alliance existing between the Pucci family and the Medici one, Pandolfo Pucci (born in 1506) was accused of an act of treason against Cosimo I de Medici and he was hung in Palazzo Bargello in 1560, which at the time was the most frightful prison in Florence, unhappy celebrated for its implacable torture methods.
Later, when the Grand Duke of Tuscany established once more his relationship with the Pucci family, Niccolò Pucci took up again Palazzo Pucci and its valuable indoors.
In the 20th century, the most celebrated descendant of that noble family has been Emilio Pucci, Marquis of Barsento.
Emilio Pucci, who was born in Naples, on the 20th November 1914, and died in Florence, on the 29th November 1992, has been a famous Italian fashion designer and a politician.
Emilio Pucci grew up in Palazzo Pucci. When he was 18 years old he attended the University of Milan (1933-35). In 1935 he went to study to the USA. He attended the University of Georgia (1935-36) and the “Reed College” in Portland (1936-37). In 1941, during his participation as a bomber pilot in the Italian Air Force, he took a degree in Arts by the University of Florence.
In 1947, while he was skiing in St. Moritz a fashion photographer for the celebrated magazine “Harper’s Bazaar” portrayed him. When the magazine published that Emilio Pucci had created the shiny skiwear that he was wearing in Switzerland, some stylish American fashion firms immediately contacted him. By this chance Emilio Pucci started his designer career.
In 1947, his atelier was set up in Palazzo Pucci and in 1950 was shown in France his first collection.
Soon after, Pucci established showrooms in Florence, Capri, Milan and Rome and founded also an exclusive shop in New York. Subsequently, Pucci mark was running all over the most important cities in the world imprinted on accessories, shoes, luggage, clothing, bathing suits, pyjamas, lingerie, perfumes and a long etcetera, as one of the most stylish and valued representatives of the Italian fashion.
His haute couture garments were rapidly included among the preferred ones by a good number of famous women like Princess Grace of Monaco, Jacqueline Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and many others, who were personally received by Emilio Pucci in his magnificent mannerist palace in Florence.
In 1965, Emilio Pucci was elected member of the Italian Parlament. In the same period, he was invited by Braniff International Airways to design the hostesses, pilots and ground staff wardrobes. Pucci accepted and maintained the assignment until 1977.
After his death, Laudomia Pucci kept on design under his father’s name.
In 2000, the Group Luois Vuitton-Moet-Henessy acquired the 63% of the share capital of the Tuscan fashion company and Laudomia Pucci passed to occupy the position of Image Director.
Since 2006, the Creative Director is Matthew Williamson who has taken the place held by Christian Lacroix from 2002 to 2005.
Currently, there are twenty-nine Emilio Pucci boutiques all over the world, extended from Paris to Moscow and from Palm Beach to Bangkok.
Within the former cellar of Palazzo Pucci is now located one of the most friendly and charming restaurants in being in those exclusive surroundings in Florence: “Il Ritrovo”.
It has not front windows but a doorway which leads to a lovely underground dining-room with vaulted ceilings. The restaurant is furnished with rural wooden Tuscan tables and reed mace chairs and decorated with candles and bunches of flowers. The specialties are the delicious variety of hand made pasta served with a choice of home made sauce and a delicate assortment of desserts with chocolate.
North Side of Florence
The Cathedrals : Basilica di San Lorenzo, Basilica di San Marco
Main Monuments : Palazzo Pucci, Palazzo Medici Riccardi
Main Museums : Accademia Gallery, Museo Archeologico
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