The Boutique Hotel Paris an authentic jewel in the historic centre of Florence, next to the pedestrian area, right between the city’s two most beautiful squares: Piazza Duomo and Piazza Santa Maria Novella.
Situated in the 14th century Via de’ Banchi, and housed in two prestigious renaissance palaces - Palazzo Venturi and Palazzo Mondragone - the hotel occupies a privileged location in Florence’s old city, allowing guests to reach all of the major sites on foot: the monuments and museums, as well as the exhibition and convention centre.
Palazzo Venturi preserves many features of its historic past: the breakfast room with its entirely frescoed vaulted ceiling, the glass mosaics, and an original tiled floor; the terrace on the first floor with its view of the city; the large vault on the second floor; the main stairway in stone.
The passage between the two palaces lends movement and elegance to the structure, like a bridge uniting the traditions and history of ancient Florence.
Via de’ Banchi was created in 1324 to provide a better connection between the quarters of San Giovanni, which comprises the Duomo, and Santa Maria Novella.
The name of the street is derived from the commercial and financial “banchi” it hosted. In 1599, Bernardo Buontalenti built a palace for the Doni family, who remained its rightful owners until the mid 17th century. Following various incidents, in 1667 the palace passed into the hands of the knight Cosimo Venturi.
The palace holds great prestige; during the French occupation in the early 1800s, the senator Ippolito Venturi on several occasions hosted Joseph and Elisa Bonaparte. The building was inherited by the senator’s daughter, Marianna Garzoni Venturi, and later sold to Prince Don Ercole dei Pio di Savoia in 1850.The prince commissioned a great deal of works inside the palace, and also brought in various works of art, among which are a precious fresco by Domenico Veneziano - detached from a nearby tabernacle in Via de’ Cerretani, and unfortunately missing today.
The imposing Palazzo presents a façade in mannerist style, with two large portals on the ground floor and two rows of windows on the upper floors. The terrace on the left is especially elegant, with a refined stone balustrade.The Venturi coat of arms stands out in the hotel lounge, at the entrance to the palace, with its three golden rooks on an azure background.
The painted glass windows on the first floor date back to the early part of the twentieth century.The first floor also features an enormous frescoed hall, used as a breakfast room, with grotesques depicted on the ceiling in the style of Bernardo Poccetti.
The presidential room, with its 19th century frescoes in neo-gothic style, features an elegant fireplace and stone washbasin - both dating back to the 1500s.
The Hotel Paris also occupies the second floor of the adjacent Palazzo Mondragone, which was sold in 1570 by the Ricasoli family to the noble Neapoletan Flavio di Arazzola, Marquis of Mondragone.
The Marquis was very close to Francesco I de’Medici, having educated him as a child on behalf of Cosimo I. It would appear that his wife, Donna Mondragone, favoured the encounters between Francesco and the noble Venetian Bianca Cappello right in this palazzo; the latter’s ghost, legend has it, is still in the building, following her death under mysterious circumstances.
To eradicate the memory of Bianca Capello and her supporters, Ferdinando I de’ Medici replaced the Mondragone crest of arms with that of the Ricasoli, at the corner of Piazza Santa Maria Novella.