Palazzo Tornabuoni: a centre for culture in Florence
Get 1 year from 27.50 €

Digital and paper subscriptions available worldwide

Subscribe now

Palazzo Tornabuoni: a centre for culture in Florence

Fri 13 Apr 2018 3:00 PM

Palazzo Tornabuoni, Italy’s only private residence club, is a success.


The numbers speak for themselves: 109 members, 34 nationalities and 9 years of finery. What those figures do not give you is the full picture of this thriving cultural centre and community. The members of the Palazzo, from as far as Australia and Asia, South America and Northern Europe, all have one thing in common: an appreciation of beauty and love of Florence. And it’s this love that inspires the members’ active involvement and integration with the city.


Palazzo Tornabuoni welcomes very special guests to its fifteenth-century palazzo in the heart of the city. Film director James Ivory was the most recent Artist in Residence to be hosted at the Palazzo during the thirtieth anniversary celebration of Ivory’s movie A Room with a View, set in Florence.


Of the occasion Palazzo Tornabuoni Attaché Gabrielle Taylor said, “It was a true pleasure to have such an iconic and talented film director such as James Ivory at the Palazzo as one of our Artists in Residence. He was the most charming guest and Members were fortunate to spend time with him and get to know him on a personal level.”


Palazzo Tornabuoni Attaché Gabrielle Taylor with John Malkovich


Gabrielle continued, “The Artist in Residence Programme is designed to nurture the arts by offering creative individuals of the highest talent an inspiring environment in which to rehearse, work on or share their passion—whether it be music, literature, the visual or performing arts, photography or architecture. This provides our Club Members from around the world with a unique and extraordinary opportunity to meet, speak with and enjoy the company of these remarkable individuals during their stays at the Club. When planning the programme, the Club always takes into consideration local and seasonal happenings to support and augment various city initiative.”


Today, Palazzo Tornabuoni is a non-profit cultural association, whose members provide the finances needed to maintain the Palazzo and its works of art, while the 30 employees work in the interests of the members. The Palazzo is exclusively designed to provide the ultimate services just for the benefit of Members and their families. It’s neither a hotel, nor are these luxury rented apartments—you can’t just book a room for the night.

The Palazzo is a place of sophisticated exchange and integration, which provides exclusive access to insider Florence.



The ten-year anniversary


In 2019, Palazzo Tornabuoni will celebrate a milestone—its tenth anniversary—and, starting preparations in 2018, will host a wealth of unique and memorable events to celebrate the success and future of the Palazzo involving myriad high-profile names who have become friends of the Palazzo over the years.


Riccardo Maccolini, President of Club Tornabuoni


The ten-year anniversary is not only a time of celebration; it also marks an important step forward, a new phase in the project. President of Club Tornabuoni, Riccardo Maccolini, explained, “This will be an exciting time and is a wonderful achievement to celebrate the success of the first ten years of the Club and the exciting future ahead of us. We will continue to expand the project. The members of Palazzo Tornabuoni give so much back to Florence. As a non-profit organization our members care about and finance the upkeep of the art and beauty of the Palazzo, as well as making an invaluable contribution to Florence’s cultural and commercial life… The new lifecycle of the Club will hold true to these values, while striving to increase the number of memberships to Florence’s—and Italy’s—only private residence club.”


Indeed, Club Members give back to Florence through supporting city initiatives such as the recent Mayors of the World conference, charity auctions with monies raised devolved to city organizations and active participation in associations like Friends of Florence and Amici degli Uffizi. Members happily “lend” their apartments to the Club on a temporary basis, providing accommodation to the Artists in Residence Programme, allowing these artists and scholars in order to encourage and foster cultural exchange and support the talent of tomorrow.



Exclusive events and activities


Vaunting services operated by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the Members of Palazzo Tornabuoni also enjoy exclusive events and activities: dinners prepared by leading chefs and in the company of renowned wine producers followed by select visits to private estates such as Il Borro belonging to the Ferragamo family; unparalleled birthday celebrations at unique Florentine palazzi such as the magnificent Palazzo Corsini with one-off elite access to the noble family’s private art collection; and exclusive, personalized viewings of Palazzo Strozzi exhibitions before the museum opens its doors to the public. Members also receive many exclusive invitations to attend special events taking place in the city, allowing them once again to be a part of the true Florentine lifestyle.



Reviving its sixteenth-century role as a civic fulcrum, Palazzo Tornabuoni is once again an integral part of the city’s vibrant cultural life and a dynamic forum for intellectual, social and business encounters. The library-like Club Lounge at the Palazzo is not only a relaxing place for an espresso or an aperitivo, but a meeting place where members can exchange cultural experiences. It’s also a focal point for encounters with visiting experts and academics, ranging from entertaining art history and fashion presentations to more in-depth discussions on subjects as diverse as
economics and modern Italian design and architecture.


Palazzo Tornabuoni’s Sala delle Muse now belongs to two members, who willingly open up the space for truly world-class events for Club Members and friends of the Palazzo. (This room features in the history books: it resounded with the world’s first opera, Jacopo Peri’s Dafne, in 1594.) Palazzo Tornabuoni welcomes musical performers from around the world to rehearse, perform and even teach in the Sala delle Muse, adding an “in-house” musical dimension for
Club Members.


A fifteenth-century Medici palace, now a home away from home for Members, Palazzo Tornabuoni is a project that began life in 2004, when renovation work got underway with the perfect equilibrium of respect for the fifteenth-century palazzo and the need for contemporary comforts befitting a luxury lifestyle.

The Palazzo is a joint venture between RDM Fingen Group in Florence owned by Corrado and Marcello Fratini and J. Byrne Murphy of Kitebrook Partners, Washington DC. Dr. Jacopo Mazzei, former CEO and a partner of RDM, comes from one of the oldest Florentine families and, along with the Fratini brothers, is the visionary and driving force behind the restoration and redevelopment of this historical landmark.



Artists in Residence

Clive Britton at Palazzo Tornabuoni


Artists in Residence at Palazzo Tornabuoni have included pianist Clive Britton, sculptor Giovanni Balderi, actor Jeremy Irons, actor John Malkovich, film director James Ivory, politician Justice Kennedy and jewellery designer Tessa Packard.



For more information about Palazzo Tornabuoni, a private residence club in the heart of Florence, visit

Related articles


How getting Italian citizenship by descent can open the doors to the European Union

In recent years, many Americans of Italian descent have pursued what is known as the Italian dream. Italy’s superb cuisine, its natural and historic heritage, as well as the art ...


Forgive us our trespassing: Editor’s letter

Christmas markets, mulled wine and satirical exhibitions, such as Banksy, are plentiful this December in Florence.


La Compagnia di Babbo Natale: Santas spreading sunshine

Find out about the charitable endeavours of La Compagnia di Babbo Natale, a foundation helping those in need.