This is Florence’s most trendy street, housing all of the big brands. The street took its name from a famous Florentine family of merchants and politicians, from whom Lorenzo il Magnifico’s mother, Lucrezia Tornabuoni descended. During the course of the centuries the street has had different names such as “Via Larga dei Legnaiuoli”, because of the woodworkers in the area and also “Via dei Belli Storpi”. In Roman times the city walls passed near the present day Palazzo Strozzi, where Porta di Brancrazio was built. Many historians quote the Grand Dukes using this street for their parades coming from Palazzo Pitti, they would go along Via Maggio, crossing Ponte Santa Trinita. This was an important point for parades, games and representations such as the horse racing, historical football games or the ring tournament (where archers would attempt to pass an arrow through a hanging ring in the middle of the street). The original aspect of the street was very different, for example in front of theTornabuoni Palace the road was much narrower, about half the actual size.
MOST IMPORTANT BUILDINGS
PALAZZO STROZZI: typical Renaissance architecture, it was built by Filippo Strozzi, a merchant belonging to one of the families traditionally hostile to the Medici, thus he wanted a lager palace than the Medicean one (Palazzo Medici-Riccardi). The first floor often hosts important exhibitions.
PALAZZO SPINI-FERONI: hosts the Ferragamo Museum, it is one of the finer examples of Medieval civic architecture in Florence.
PALAZZO ALTOVITI-SANGALLETTI: famous for having hosted the Gran Cafè Doney, haunted by Florentine aristocrats, politicians and English writers during the 18th century.
PALAZZO TORNABUONI: was begun in the mid 15th century following a Michelozzo design. Towards the end of the 1500’s it was sold to the Corsi family. According to legend, the Italian melodramma was invented in this palace, with the first representation of “La Favola di Dafne” with Ottavio Rinuccini’s libretto of 1594, commemorated by the external plaque on Via dei Corsi.