Casa Guidi

Piazza, S.Felice, Florence, Italy


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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Beds 1 Twin, 1 Double, 1 Single

1 +4
4 nights from
£1200 equivalent to £60.00 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.

Floor Plan


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Map & local info

There is so much to see in Florence, but don’t panic! Make yourself at home in the private rooms of one of the most notable literary couples of the Victorian Age and take a deep breath. Accept that you are never going to see all its treasures in one visit and will need to come back many times. Think art, food, shops, and follow your instincts.

You will be naturally drawn to the stature of Palazzo Pitti, once the court of the Medici Grand-dukes. Pay a visit to the Galleria Palatina, where you will find some of Raphael’s and Titian’s most amazing paintings, and meander around the Giardino di Boboli, one of the finest examples of Italian landscape architecture.

Your footsteps might lead you towards the Arno River to cross the Ponte Vecchio. Let your eyes catch the symbols of Florence’s glorious past, carved in the jewels shown in the bridge’s windows. You can turn right on the Lungarno and make your way to Piazza della Signoria, passing in front of the Galleria degli Uffizi. You will be able to appreciate iconic masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s ‘Tondo Doni’, Leonardo’s ‘Annunciation’, Botticelli’s ‘La Primavera’. Stop for an authentic Florentine panini at ‘I Due Fratellini’ in Via Cimatori.

From the Ponte Vecchio you can also go up Via Por Santa Maria and Via Calimala for high street shopping, have a look around the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo for leather goods and souvenirs. Luxury clothing brands can be found in the adjacent Via Roma and in Via de’ Tornabuoni. If you fancy a quiet cappuccino while perusing the most up-to-date fashion books and magazines, the glamorous Gucci Museo is the perfect place to take a break and learn about the history of fashion. Not far from here rises the medieval Museo del Bargello, one of the oldest buildings in the city, which houses Donatello’s ‘David’ and Michelangelo’s ‘Bacchus’.

Following Via del Proconsolo, you will end up on the majestic Piazza del Duomo. Enjoy the spectacular views from the Cupola or from Giotto’s Bell Tower, walking just over 400 steps (not recommended for those suffering from heart problems, vertigo or claustrophobia!). Head towards Galleria dell’Accademia to admire'to Michelangelo's breathtaking magnum opus, ‘David’. Finally, spend some time in the Basilica di Santa Croce where you can learn about Saint Francis looking at the amazing frescos or about Italian cultural history just observing the tombs of some of the most famous Italians.

Clear directions
Essential info
What you need to know about this building
  • No.
  • Directly from the street (flight of stairs up to the Landmark flat).
  • The nearest and main railway station is Santa Maria Novella. Bus D and DH leave from outside the railway station, next to the taxi rank, and stop at Via Mazzetta - Alight at stop Santo Spirito - then walk to Piazza S Felice. Casa Guidi is also on bus routes 11, 36 and 37. Alight at Via dei Serragli, then walk down Via S Agostino, Piazza Santo Spirito, Via Mazzetta to the Piazza S Felice.
  • No – the nearest garage is The Garage Lungarno (tel +39 055 282542) which charges about 27 euros a day for parking and will give you a permit allowing your car access to the city centre.
  • There is gas central heating.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also a gas cooker and a microwave.
  • There are three bathrooms, each with free-standing shower units.
  • The internal stairs are not particularly difficult. There is a lift. there is a narrow spiral staircase in the apartment, to reach the single room.
  • No
  • Yes, the property is in a city centre and at times there may be noise from local bars, restaurants and clubs.
Booking and Payment
  • If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • The key arrangements will be included in the Further Infomation document which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • If your stay starts more than two months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy and The Bunk House at Llwyn Celyn must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • Our housekeeper will leave the key in a suitable place, the details of which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
Staying at a Landmark
  • Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.  Further information on access when visiting Lundy can also be found here.
  • Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if a registered assistance dog is supporting one of the guests, for which there is no charge.
  • Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visiting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).
  • Landmark’s electrical systems have not been designed to provide continuous power from one socket over several hours.  If an ordinary socket is used to charge an electric vehicle, there is significant risk of an electrical fire and consequent danger to life.  Therefore, we are unable to allow electric vehicle charging from most of our Landmarks at present.

    We are working to provide Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge points at our properties where there is private parking.  Where this is available, please request this facility when booking the property to ensure the outlet is enabled on your arrival.  There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.  Please book this facility in advance.
  • No, we do not allow smoking in any Landmark.
  • Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival. Except for the Llwyn Celyn Bunkhouse.
  • Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
    Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
  • A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. Hairdryers are provided.

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.

To read and download the full history album click here.


Assisting Eton College

The involvement of the Landmark Trust began in 1990. The Browning Institute was about to pass on its ownership of Casa Guidi to Eton College, which has a notable collection of Browning material, with the aim of completing the restoration and furnishing the drawing room. Eton College approached the Landmark Trust to help with the restoration and to make Casa Guidi available to a wider public.

The transfer to Eton was completed in January 1992 and, after much careful planning and considerable research, the apartment was furnished as closely as possible to the original described by the Mignaty painting, family letters and the 1913 sale catalogue of Pen Browning’s possessions. The furnishings include Pen Browning’s desk, chest of drawers and two chairs, busts of Elizabeth and Robert Browning, copies of the Mignaty painting, the painting of St Jerome and the portrait of Pen, the original drawing room mirror, a copy of a bronze plaque featuring the head of Aeschilus, the brocade curtains which match as nearly as possible those described in Elizabeth’s letters and other Brownings’ belongings.

The restoration of Casa Guidi was completed in 1995. The principal rooms are open to visitors on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons, 3-6 pm, from April to November.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

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.