Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai


The Florentine Leopoldo Gattai was one of the most successful building contractors in the early years of the Italian national state. Together with his son-in-law Francesco Budini he directed the ‘Ditta Gattai Budini’; the firm’s numerous constructions included the embankments of the Lungarno Torrigiani in Florence, the harbour in Livorno and the railway line between Florence and Vaglia. After the winding up of the business in 1890, and the reinvestment of the capital in various real estate in the Florentine contrada, they also purchased in the same year one of the most prestigious Renaissance palaces in Florence, the Palazzo Grifoni. Soon afterwards the architect Giuseppe Boccini was commissioned to renovate its interior and he entered his plans for the ‘Casa Gattai’ also in the competition for the ‘Premio Martelli’ held by the Florentine Academy of Art in 1891. Boccini erected the monumental staircase leading up from the ground floor to the newly refurbished reception rooms on the first floor. The decoration of the staircase and its walls, and also of the rooms on the piano nobile, was commissioned in turn from Augusto Burchi, who worked on it together with Giulio Bargellini and Galileo Chini. The walls of the stairwell were painted with large panels containing personifications of the figurative and performing arts and scenes of the ages of man, while the ceiling was painted with allegories of the Virtues. Numerous allusions to the patrons are scattered through this decorative ensemble. Their coats of arms not only adorn the cartouches placed below the personified Virtues and the rectangular window set into the ceiling, but are also coupled with the coats of arms of the Ricci and Grifoni families, the previous owners of the Palazzo, on the ground floor.

View of the staircase from the atrium

View of the staircase from the central landing

View of the staircase from the upper landing

View of the ceiling

Allegorical figures of Steadfastness and Prudence on south side of the ceiling

Allegorical figure of Fortuna over the Gattai coat of arms on north side of the ceiling

Armour and weapons in lunette on west side of the ceiling

Agricultural tools in lunette on east side of the ceiling

Allegory of Egyptian Art on the west wall

Allegory of Medieval Art on the east wall

Coat of arms of the Ricci family on the ground floor

Coat of arms of the Grifoni family on the ground floor

Arms of alliance: Budini family arms impaled with the Gattai on the ground floor

© KHI in Florence | 02.06.2023 07:23:41