IL Tornabuoni Hotel is located within one of the oldest and most prestigious palaces of Florence, the Palazzo Minerbetti. The palazzo has a long and fascinating history which dates back to the 13th century. It has been referenced on numerous occasions by writers famous for their writings about the Florence’s art and history, including Fantozzi, Carocci and Bargellini.
The name comes from its first owner, Andrea Minerbetti, who in 1470 acquired a portion of the street, Via de’ Tornabuoni for a series of construction projects. The palace had already been in his family for a decade prior.
Between the 16th and 17th centuries, the house had a balcony on the corner of street ‘Via del Parione’ which was restored by sculptor and architect Girolamo Ticciati between 1737 and 1740. The balcony is still documented in some of the early 19th century engravings.
The Minerbetti family line ended in 1771 and in 1793 the building passed down to the Santini and then Buonvisi Montecatini of Lucca families. 19th century documents suggest that Teresa Santini owned the balcony still positioned on the corner of Via del Parione.
Around this time, the Palace began transforming from a private dwelling into a lodging. First it became the Hotel of Il Pellicano and then Hotel the Regiment of England.
The facade was restored in 1880 by the new owners - La Fondiaria, Insurance company - who replaced a considerable amount of the stonework. Other works are documented in more recent times: after the great flood of 1966 to repair the damage caused by flooding and again to the facade in 1987 by the architect Claudio Bianchini.
Considered throughout history to be amongst one of the finest in the city, it was frequented by wealthy foreigners. In the 1920s, both Nikolai Demidoff and the Ukrainian capitalist Olizar Gustav were guests. Until 1918, it took the name of Hotel of Europe, welcoming the great American writer Henry James in 1869, among many others.
The entire building was again fully restored between 1990 and 1996 by Brizio Montinaro. Its last name was the Tornabuoni Beacci Hotel until it closed again for a major refurbishment and reopened in its current incarnation as IL Tornabuoni Hotel.
The palace has been listed and considered national heritage by local institutions since 1901 and despite numerous works and redevelopment, to this day still maintains the appearance and character of a medieval building.
During the most recent restorations, a number of 13th century frescoes - from before Palazzo Minerbetti was built - were uncovered and have now been restored to life.