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An interesting example of 14th century
home showing the transition stage from
   the medieval tower house to the
         Renaissance building.
                                            PALAZZO DAVANZATI

•   The Palace, built by the Davizzi family around mid-14th century, was purchased in 1578 by the Davanzati
    family (their coat of arms is still visible on the façade) and remained in their possession until 1838, when it
    was divided into flats and suffered serious damages.
•   In 1904 it was purchased and restored by the antique dealer Elia Volpi, who entirely furnished it and opened
    it to the public in 1910 as Museum of the Old Florentine House. After alternate events, which
    comprehended also the dispersion of the original furniture pieces, the palace was purchased in 1951 by the
    State that reorganised it and opened it once more to the public in 1956.
•   Its most important feature is the architectural structure that represents an interesting example of 14th
    century home showing the transition stage from the medieval tower house to the Renaissance buildings. The
    original façade was decorated with a three-arch loggia, now closed that was once open and used as a shop. A
    16th century “loggia” replaces the usual medieval battlements on the top of the building.
                            PALAZZO DAVANZATI: THE COURTYARD

•   The interior, which also has an underground gallery, has a suggestive courtyard on the
    ground floor that gives access to the stone and wood staircase with rampant arches leading
    up to the four upper floors.
                                     PALAZZO DAVANZATI

The arrangement of the building shows that the rooms of the first floor have the same layout of
those on the third floor. Rooms are articulated in a "madornale", that is a large audience hall,
dining rooms, bedrooms and "agiamenti" (toilets), a “rarity” in theelegant houses of the period.
Master Room   Audience room

 Bedroom        Toilets
                        PALAZZO DAVANZATI: THE PARROT ROOM

•   All the rooms have floors in “cotto” and ceilings in wood, some of which
    decorated with paintings. The walls of some of the rooms are decorated
    with frescoes and decorations that were quite popular in Florentine 13th
    century homes, representing curtains and coat of arms. The most
    beautiful rooms are the “Sala dei Pappagalli” (The Parrots Room) and the
    Bridal Chamber with scenes of the life of the Lady of Vergi.
                                            PALAZZO DAVANZATI: THE PRESENT ARRANGEMENT

                                 The present arrangement of the Museum aims at reconstructing the setting of an
                                 old Florentine home, with furniture and household tools from the 14th to the 19th
                                   century. Bedrooms display for instance chests full of linen and cots, while the
                                     audience hall on the first floor exhibits a rare painted cabinet, created by a
                                  Sienese artist of the 16th century, and the wooden painting shows The Game of
                                  “Civettino” by Giovanni di Ser Giovanni nicknamed "Scheggia" dating back to the
                                    15th century and the marble bust of a Child by Antonio Rossellino, also dating
                                                                back to the 15th century.
                                   The museum also preserves a very fine collection of old ceramics and the 17th
                                                      century hand warmers in the shape of shoes.
                                        A very important document in the story of the family and palace is the
                                 Genealogical tree of the Davanzati Family, a work by an anonymous Tuscan painter
                                   of the 17th century. The State has recently purchased a rare wooden chest or
                                      throne-bed" with inlaid front and headboard, rnanufactured in the Tuscan-
                                               Umbran area during the last quarter of the 15th century.
                                     The kitchen on third floor exhibits furniture and ordinary daily households,
                                 together with working tools, like looms, warping machines and spinning wheels that
                                               document some of the activities carried out in the house.
                                   The Museum also displays a very fine collection of laceworks ranging from the
The kitchen on the third floor                          16th to the 20th centuries and samplers.

                                   Up to 17th century there were no armoires,
         Needle Lace                                                                          Pharmacy jar
                                          clothes were stowed in trunks

in Florence until the 18th century there was still                 Bedroom
     in every house a small image of Our Lady           Virgin and Child, XVth Century

                  Chair called in                              Safe, deposit
                                PALAZZO DAVANZATI: LADY BED CHAMBER
                                              The whole legend
                                         of "The Castellana di Vergi"

                                                 Fresco - Detail

                        Medieval “Soap Opera”: the story of the Chatelaine de Virgy

The adventures of the Burgundy Chatelaine and of William Cavalier (the Knight), their thwarted love, the jaleous
and cruel love of the "Duchess of Burgundy" quickly enters all foreign literatures. The story of the Dame de
Virgy was translated in English, German, Dutch but it was in Italy that became incredibly famous.

                                                    The story
The duke of Burgundy went hunting and his wife the Duchess invited to the castle William Cavalier to paly
chess. She tried to seduce him, but invain, because he was secretly in love with the Chatelaine de Virgy (look at
the first scenes of the fresco).
The duchess, refused by the young knight, was very offended and when her husband came back she accused the
knight of having tried to seduce her. The Duke convenes William who, to prove his innocence, invited him to
observe them when alone with the Duchess and pretends to be in love with her.
The very angry Duke would like to punish his wife but she, not only managed to calm him down, going to bed with
him (you actually see the topless Duchess in bed with him!) but she even managed to be told whom William was in
love with!
The wicked woman organised a big party for all the very important people of the region and during it she told
everyone that the Chatelaine and William Cavalier were lovers.
For shame the Chatelaine killed herself with a sword. William did the same, seeing his beloved dead and the
Duke punished the Duchess slashing her throat
The palace Davanzati and an example of residencial architecture in Florence in „300.

Entering the building is a corridor leading of the building.Crossing the threshold of the
door you enter a room that was once the private patio of the family, on the open road.
The ahrming coutyard is the center of the building, where you see the upper storey‟s
spectacularity in a maze of ladders, steps and walkways. On the first floor are a living
“egregious”, which corresponds to the ground floor loggia, dining room, a closet and a
bedroom, which corresponds to the portico of the courtyard. On the second floor, the
bedroom is the only environment that preserves the decoration of frescoes. Figured in
a band is a series of love stories, adventure and death, taken from medieval legend of
the Virgin of Castellana, living room, dining room, study. The third floor is covered
with cloth of the House, with walls painted with a frieze of an orchard with potted.
The top floor is the kitchen, at the top to avoid ipregnating the house of fumes and
vapors and also to allow quick escape in case of fire. The exterior of the building we
see arms of Davanzati.

Dear friends,
I want to talk you about Palazzo Davanzati.
On March 10, 2010, our class from the technical institute for accountants and
surveyor ITCG “Enrico Fermi” of Pontedera visited this palace.
It is an example of the Florentine architecture.
I liked this palace because it has a beautiful structure. It was build for Davizzi
family and, after, passed to Davanzati, a very rich and powerful Florentine
merchants family.
It was built on four floors and the structure of the floors is the same. On ground
floor there are the merchants‟ shops. The rooms of the palace are very large and
wide and the furnishings are in ancient style, but they are not the original ones,
because they were sold to different clients, above all to the Americans.
In particular, I appreciated the bridal bedroom. I liked so much the frescoes on
the wall. They tell us the Castellana di Vergi‟s history, according to the legend.
I also liked the “Pavoni‟s room”. It is interesting for its frescoes on the walls,
with geometrical wallpapers.
For all this reasons I think that it is a beautiful museum, pleasant to visit.
I hope to meet you soon!
                                   Ylenia Pieracci

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