Palazzo Strozzi in Florence is one of the most beautiful Italian Renaissance palaces. Of imposing size (15 buildings were destroyed to make room for it), it is located between the homonymous via Strozzi and Piazza Strozzi , and via Tornabuoni , with three grandiose identical portals, on two sides.
A true masterpiece of Florentine civil architecture of the Renaissance , it was started on the will of Filippo Strozzi , a wealthy merchant belonging to one of the wealthiest families in Florence, traditionally hostile to the faction of the Medici .
The Strozzi family had been exiled from Florence in 1434 because of its opposition to the Medici , but thanks to the fortune accumulated by Filippo Strozzi as a banker in Naples , he was able to return to the city in 1466 , determined to crush his rivals. His became a real obsession and for years he bought and demolished buildings around his residence in order to have the necessary land to raise the largest palace that had ever been seen in Florence.
Among the houses purchased there were those of other Strozzi, Piero Ardinghelli, Francesco Rucellai , Cecca and Niccolò Popoleschi, Piero Tornaquinci and the tower of the Counts Guidi di Poppi . It was also here the Piazza dei Tornaquinci, where various families had their towers and loggias; only thanks to the intervention of Lorenzo the Magnificent the Strozzi could obtain the rights from the owners to straighten the square line and to occupy with the new building every portion of roads or crossings that was necessary. The only condition that the Strozzi suffered was that of starting the works within one year of the ratification of the notarial deed (dated 10 April 1489 ) and that the construction continued without interruption, under penalty of confiscation.
Giuliano da Sangallo executed a model of Palazzo Strozzi in wood between 1489 and 1490 (now returned from the palace, in storage by Bargello ), but Vasari attributed the primitive project to Benedetto da Maiano , favorite architect of Lorenzo the Magnificent . With so much money available, nothing was left to chance, so much so that even astronomers were summoned to decide what was the best day to lay the first stone. The work began in 1489 , but only two years later Filippo Strozzi died ( 1491 ). His heirs continued, albeit with difficulty, in the costly construction of Philip's dream. In 1507 the ground floor began to be inhabited.
On the death of Benedetto da Maiano, when the building had now reached the second floor, the work was entrusted to Simone del Pollaiolo , known as Cronaca, who made the crowning of the façade and the porticoed courtyard, remaining in office until October 31st 1504 , as evidenced by the documents of the time.
After several interruptions, due to the fluctuating economic conditions of the family, thanks to the commercial fortune of Filippo Strozzi the young , rich banker, the palace was finished in 1538 by Baccio d'Agnolo , who also took care of the interior spaces and furnishings, but left the incomplete cornice on one side, as it is today. The building was confiscated by the Grand Duke Cosimo I de 'Medici the same year, due to the war against the Florentine exiles led by Filippo and Piero Strozzi . Only thirty years later, the palace was returned to the cardinal Lorenzo Strozzi , Filippo's brother in the meantime who died in prison. In 1638 Gherardo Silvani built the chapel on the first floor and in 1662 enlarged the staircase on Via Tornabuoni.
It was only in 1864 that the so-called Via Poggi by Giuseppe Poggi was added along Via Tornabuoni, commissioned by Prince Ferdinando Strozzi. On that occasion the walled door on Piazza Strozzi was also reopened and the courtyard with the street level was connected by a ramp to allow the carriages to enter the heart of the building. Between 1886 and 1889 the facades were restored, and then again at the beginning of the twentieth century.