An atmosphere of calm elegance permeates Palazzo Tornabuoni a short distance from the bustle of piazza della Repubblica. The Florentine spoke with Gabrielle Maria Taylor, who recently became the President of Club Tornabuoni, a seamless advancement as the private residence club’s keystone in her eight-year role as Club Attaché.
The Florentine: Congratulations on your exciting new appointment as President of Club Tornabuoni. What will the new role entail?
Gabrielle Maria Taylor: Thank you. I am extremely honoured to have been given this incredible opportunity. Over the past eight years I have enjoyed meeting many interesting and inspiring people, all of whom have a love for Florence and what it represents. It has been truly rewarding both on a professional and personal level and I now look forward to the challenges of the new role. I believe that Florence is a place built on realising dreams, on innovation and inspiration. One is mistaken if they think the Renaissance exists only in the past and I want to highlight this ethos in our Club. The Palazzo is a cultural hub where I believe members can realise their dreams. My definitive goal is to ensure that the Club is a warm and welcoming place for all Members while maintaining and promoting a world-class environment. I am most proud of the strong bonds and friendships that Members have established within the Club. The home away from home atmosphere is something the Palazzo team have worked incredibly hard to create and will endeavour to continue to cultivate.
TF: Will you also be continuing your role as attaché, essentially the life and soul of the Club’s social scene?
GMT: Yes, I will still continue my role as Club Attache alongside my role of Club President. The relationships and collaborations with local firms, individuals, Florentine families, institutions and charities I have established ensure the Palazzo is an integral part of the city’s vibrant cultural life. Florence is a prominent force in the global art community and has a renowned reputation as a hotbed of creativity which is so appealing. We have an eclectic mix of Members with a common passion for the city and a thirst for cultural enrichment and, as you know, that has always been and will continue to be my focus. Florence is far more than a dazzling reliquary. It’s a city opening itself to the modern world in surprising ways, constantly offering something new, so the unique opportunities we can offer our Members are never-ending.
TF: You’ve been anchored to Palazzo Tornabuoni since the inception of the private residence club, so you know everything there is to know!
Can you name a few highlights during your time at the Palazzo?
GMT: There are many wonderful memories and highlights for me during my eight years at the Palazzo. My fondest memories have been when I have seen Members celebrate life milestones at the Palazzo such as special birthdays, anniversaries, proposals, weddings and family reunions. The Palazzo is about making memories and I hold this sentiment very dear.
TF: What, if anything, do you plan on changing as President?
GMT: I intend to undertake an ambitious revamping of the Palazzo’s cultural programming and focus on elevating the Club’s visibility within the Florentine community by offering an Ambassadorship programme. I believe this will bring a breath of fresh air to the Club and foster a dynamic networking community.
TF: Palazzo Tornabuoni is a private residence club welcoming members from all over the world. Can you explain how it works and what lies ahead for this innovative business model?
GMT: The Palazzo is Italy’s only private residence club. We have 109 members, 34 nationalities from as far as Australia and Asia, South America and Northern Europe, and nearly 10 years of success. We are very fortunate to be managed by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts who grant the finest service. Once home to the Medici family, the Palazzo will continue to reference Florence’s past but bringing with it a bright future owing to its international and contemporary vision.
TF: Next year, Palazzo Tornabuoni will be celebrating its tenth anniversary. What can the Club Members and the city of Florence expect?
GMT: We will be celebrating an important milestone. In honour of this, we plan to host a wealth of memorable events to celebrate the success and future of the Palazzo. This will involve a number of high-profile friends of the Club who have supported the Palazzo over the last ten years. The ten-year anniversary is not only a time of celebration; it also marks an important step forward, a new phase in the project. As a non-profit organisation 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 constantly improve and elevate the lifestyle experience of the Club for all of our Members.