After a six-year restoration, Palazzo Portinari Salviati in via del Corso will reopen on April 15. Thanks to a multi-million investment by Taiwanese group LDC Hotels & Resorts, the 15th-century palazzo, which was once Beatrice Portinari’s childhood home, now reopens its doors to the public. Part of the palazzo has been converted into a period residence with luxury hotel facilities: elegant suites with frescoes dating to the 1700s line the upper floors, while fine dining reigns on the ground floor in addition to high-end apartments available for sale (two-thirds have already been sold) throughout the complex.
While the exact investment made in the Palazzo Portinari Salviati development remains unknown, the attachment that the proprietors, the Chang family, have to the palazzo is apparent. When asked by Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence, how much the company had invested in the restoration, Nelson Chang, CEO of LDC Hotels & Resorts, replied, “One dollar, and all my heart”, in addition to a pledge to “increase our investment in Florence”. Meanwhile, Elaine Chang, general manager and head of international business development, promised to “curate a public tour, like a museum tour, with proceeds going to other cultural restorations in Florence”.
The opening of the palazzo means that Alessandro Allori’s fresco cycles of the Odyssey and Hercules will be on public view for the first time in the building’s history.
Salotto Portinari Bar & Bistrot
Step into Palazzo Portinari Salviati off the bustling via del Corso and you are immediately welcomed into the main courtyard of Cosimo I, whose likeness is captured in the central statue, alongside a glorious fresco of Virgin and Child on the rear wall. The winsome hall doubles as the reception for the 13 suites on the upper floors as well as an all-day spacious bar and restaurant from breakfast to after-dinner drinks that serves a creative take on Tuscan and Italian cuisine. Foodies will be excited to learn that Vito Mollica, former executive chef at Four Seasons Florence, will be at the helm as culinary director as we see the return of his signature dishes such as seafood cavatelli alongside the likes of top Tuscan charcuterie and club sandwiches.
“It’s a big responsibility for a young Italian group like us,” comments Stefano Cuoco, global managing director and COO of luxury hospitality company Mine & Yours Group, which is in charge of the culinary side of Palazzo Portinari Salviati. “If you respect the location, you have to be at the same level with the service from day one. It’s crucial to have someone like Vito Mollica joining the team because of his professionalism, but mostly you need someone with his personality to handle a location like this. It’s not just about food and it’s not just about dishes and glasses. It’s truly about the experience. This salotto, as we’ve called it, is open to the city, so that everyone can enjoy a building like this in the most comfortable way.”
Historic suites for holidaying in the heart of Florence
Grand pietra serena steps lead guests up to the 13 opulent suites named after historical figures who frequented the palazzo over the centuries: Maria de’ Medici, Alemanno Salviati and so forth. Each suite vaunts the finest marble bathrooms and antiques alongside monumental stone fireplaces beneath perfectly maintained fifteenth-century wooden coffered ceilings or dazzling frescoes dedicated to Greek mythology. It goes without saying that the caliber of accommodation is equipped with up-to-the-minute amenities and a butler service. Bookings are now open.
Coming soon: Chic Nonna fine dining restaurant
Gourmands will have to wait until early June to dine at gourmet restaurant Chic Nonna in the mesmerizing Corte degli Imperatori and adjacent beautiful vaulted rooms decorated in the sixteenth century by Alessandro Allori. A seasonal menu is expected to blend traditional flair with international taste with tasting menus and à la carte choices.