On a quiet residential street in the centre of Florence was once the home of the poets Robert and Elizabeth Browning. The tall main rooms have been restored in a graceful 18th-century style that would be recognizable by the Brownings.
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- 2 +4
- 4 nights from
equivalent to £45.17 per person, per night
Elizabeth and Robert Browning's former family home
The palazzo Guidi in the centre of Florence was originally built for the prominent Florentine family, the Ridolfis, whose coat of arms still adorn the palazzo. In the early 19th century the palazzo Guidi was divided into apartments and several years later one of the two apartments was rented by Robert and Elizabeth Browning. They travelled around Europe and the furniture and works of art that they collected made this their family home. It was their son, Pen's greatest wish that Casa Guidi should be recreated in his parent's memory. It was not until 1971 that his wish was fulfilled. The Browning Institute of New York acquired the apartment and started its restoration process, particularly in the drawing room and the bedroom. In 1992 Casa Guidi was transferred to Eton College and after much careful research, further work brought the rooms as close as possible to a 1861 painting by George Mignaty, commissioned after Elizabeth's death in 1861. The work began in partnership with the Landmark Trust and was finally completed in 1995.
The Hub of Renaissance Florence
Positioned just south of the Arno, this Landmark is on the very edge of the centre of Florence. The beautiful San Miniato al Monte basilica, the Galleria dell'Accademia, home of Michelangelo's David and the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge are all a stone's throw away. Casa Guidi is perfect for those looking to explore the Renaissance Florence for the first time or for those who already know it well. Despite its central location the area isn't overcrowded and still retains its authentic Florentine charm.
The principal rooms in Casa Guidi are open to the public three afternoons a week between April and November, click here for further information.
‘Having come to Florence before as a mere tourist it was wonderful to come to Casa Guidi and really feel part of the place.’
From the logbook
Click here to view the floor plan for this Landmark.
The home of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The suite of rooms on the first floor of the palazzo Guidi was, for many years, the home of poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. They lived here from 1847 until 1861 and in these rooms they wrote some of their finest poetry. “Casa Guidi” was the name given to the apartment by Elizabeth Browning herself. The palazzo Guidi, at the southern end of Via Maggio, dates from the fifteenth century.
It was built for a prominent Florentine family, the Ridolfi di Piazza, whose coat of arms - a coronet and crossed palms - can be seen on the corner house of the Palazzo. In the 1840s the palazzo Guidi was divided into apartments and in July 1847, one of the two furnished apartments on the piano nobile was rented by the Brownings, initially for three months, with all its splendid Guidi furniture. A year later, in May, the Brownings rented the same rooms, unfurnished, at 25 guineas a year and spent some time buying furniture, having curtains made and generally setting up home. Their son, Pen, was born in 1849 and grew up here, learning to play the piano which was moved into the dining room, and keeping rabbits on the terrace outside.
Although the Brownings spent some time away from Casa Guidi, when they visited England, Paris, Siena or Rome, this was undoubtedly their happy family home. When Elizabeth Browning died in 1861, Robert commissioned a painting of the drawing room by George Mignaty, as the literary sanctum in which she worked. After Elizabeth’s death, Robert left Casa Guidi and eventually died in Venice in 1889.
It was Pen Browning’s greatest wish that Casa Guidi should be recreated in his parents’ memory but this did not begin to happen until 1971, when most of the apartment was purchased by the Browning Institute of New York. The Institute, which was founded to “encourage and develop the study of literature and the liberal arts, with particular emphasis on the writings and lives of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning”, began the restoration process, opening it to visitors and arranging lectures and exhibitions. The Institute also restored the decoration of the drawing room and the bedroom as closely as possible to that which existed during the Browning’s occupation.
For a short history of Casa Guidi please click here.
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A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.
Monday 13th February 2014