There are few properties in Florence where one can experience a commanding, cityscape view during both sunrise and sunset. Or, for that matter, from a medieval tower.
Antica Torre di via de Tornabuoni, a 13th century tower renovated in 1841 –– and most recently in 2008 –– features 360-degree rooftop terrace views of the art capital that stretch from the Arno to the Duomo.
The 19-room residence, which will expand to 24 rooms by September 2014, was originally built for the Guelph family in medieval times. By the early 1900s, it was favored by literati and artists from England and America.
A timeless renovation
The 2008 renovation yet feels fresh and timeless, crafted in classic, contemporary Florentine style. Suites feature cascading silk curtains, and special attention is paid to light fixtures and shades –– most redone in fabrics from London, Jaipur and elsewhere.
The lively effect brightens the former, darker tower, which has been largely gutted through the centuries, allowing for modern sensibilities. Floors are now either carpeted or laid with parquet.
The Residenza d’Epoca is located on the fourth and fifth floors, housing the Panoramic and Renaissance suites, among others. Here, designer Angelica Frescobaldi brought in even greater color, in exquisite wall coverings, on alcove beds, pillows, and again, through lampshades covered in fine fabric.
Suite and rooftop views
The Grand Deluxe Library features a wall-to-wall library purchased at auction, and refurbished from its former, drearier self. For the bath: a rain shower, and red Alcantara marble. The suite’s view is of Piazza Santa Trinita, anchored with an ancient column and topped with a statue of Justice. Palazzo Spini Feroni can also be seen across via Tornabuoni – built in 1289 for the wealthy Geri Spini, a banker and textile merchant.
Other views from Antica Torre di via de Tornabuoni rooftop terraces: the church of San Miniato al Monte, Fort Belvedere, and the hills of Bellosguardo and Fiesole. The hotel fronts the Ponte Santa Trinita, the oldest elliptic arch bridge in the world, originally constructed from 1567 to 1569. The bridge was destroyed during World War II, but reconstructed in the late 1950s, using the original stones lifted from the Arno.
Where to eat
Florence is full of fine restaurants, perhaps the most enduring being Cibréo, a 15-minute walk from Antica Torre di via de Tornabuoni in the Sant’Ambrogio quarter. The restaurant (including the nearby Cibréo trattoria and café), serve hearty Tuscan fair drawn with distinctive, delicate tastes.
- Antica Torre di via de Tornabuoni serves a hot and cold buffet breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m., including both Mediterranean and American tastes.
- The rooftop terraces are open 24 hours day, with a self-service bar that includes coffee and tea.
- Antica Torre di via de Tornabuoni also hosts weddings and offers various packages that include culinary shopping and winery tours along with cooking classes.