Why the name “Antica Torre” (“Ancient Tower”) ?
During the 11th century, many towers were constructed within the city wall of Florence as living spaces, hence the name “tower homes” came into existence. These towers were built as residences by the various noble families who moved to Florence from the countryside as the city emerged as the new center of economic, political and cultural life in Italy in high medieval times.
The towers soon became symbols of the power held by each noble household and as such they were built as high and as quickly as possible.
The noble families, who were continuously fighting for sovereignty of the city, began to form alliances among various resident factions; thus were born “consortiums”, which represented coalitions of families, often reinforced through marriage and blood relations. The tower-homes of these consortiums were constructed with the leading family’s tower acting as a hub, with a series of bridges and impromptu passage leading to the member families’ towers which were built around it.
The city of Florence was punctuated by these conglomerates of tower-homes, one of which was located in the area of Antica Torre. This consortium was headed by one of the noblest and proudest Florentine families: The Uberti’s and also included other “blue blood” families such as the Foraboschi’s. The Foraboschi towers stood precisely where the Soggiorno Antica Torre is now located.
But what happened to the Uberti consortium? Why does the Piazza Signoria stand today where their tower-homes stood? Why do the Foraboschi towers no longer exist in Florence?
The political mood of the Florentines changed after a time and the Ghibellini, who were the undisputed leader in the Uberti clan, were driven out of the city. In turn, the Uberti towers were torn down and the land where they had stood was cursed and nothing more was to be built on it. Thus was born the area now known as Piazza Signoria.
The towers of the related families were spared total destruction, but were rendered ineffective by dismantling the battlements and lowering the structures. In a short time, the towers of the Foraboschi assumed the look of normal houses. But, still, something remains of the ancient power. Just face the Hall of the Soggiorno and observe, with a historian’s eye, the thickness of the wall to realize you are right inside one of these towers. The Soggiorno Antica Torre winds around the central part of the tower into which, one time, all the rooms converged.
The building passed from owner to owner until finally in 1930 Mario Quercioli bought the 3rd floor as living space for his family. Passed down from father to son, today Fabrizio Quercioli decided to transform his former family home into a beautiful soggiorno to welcome lovers of the past. The rooms include historical pieces acquired from Palazzo Medici-Riccardi. The Soggiorno has an ambience in which one can almost smell the perfume of the roses of Calendimaggio, the ancient Florentine festival - just look out the windows to Piazza Signoria to be immersed in ancient Florence.
DESCRIPTION OF THE AMBIENCE
The Soggiorno Antica Torre is located in the heart of the city, in the most famous piazza in Florence: the Piazza Signoria. The pensione winds around the central part of an ancient tower from the XI century.
Almost all the rooms have original ceilings and beams. The floors are oak wood. The wood furniture is in classic Italian style; all the rooms are furnished with antiques pieces, some coming from the Medici-Riccardi Palazzo, the city residence of Cosimo dei Medici.
The atmosphere throughout is warm and comfortable with elegant touches. The views are splendid, from the red roofs and small streets of the city to the unparalleled view overlooking Piazza Signoria. All this combines to create a sense of refined hospitality with an unmistakable historical note. Just close your eyes for a moment and feel yourself transported to Renaissance Florence!