The Ancient and Ethereal Hotel Brunelleschi
Once upon a time, deep in the heart of Florence, hidden away from the masses of tourists in the private Piazza Santa Elisabetta, there stood a gorgeous and classic building. Now known as the Hotel Brunelleschi, complete with the beauty to catch your eye should you happen to pass by, the history of the location is what really makes this lodging unique and extraordinary.
Built in the 7th century, this is the oldest building still standing in Florence’s historical center! As if that wasn’t intriguing enough, it became a women’s prison in the 12th century and added on a church centuries later, presumably to redeem the incarcerated and keep up with the heavily Catholic dogma of Tuscany. In the 1980s, intense restorative work went into this gorgeous piece of architecture, uncovering lost Lombard artifacts and artwork and transforming this once objectionable location into a thriving and comfortable token of history.
With a large assortment of rooms, a fantastic restaurant and bar, and a fully modern gym, one only needs to walk into this establishment to immediately feel at home and taken care of. But the best part of this hotel is the Tower Suite, a 2 floor mega chamber that fills the original tower of the prison with contemporary furnishings, 2 bathrooms, and a gorgeous iron spiral staircase elevating you to the pinnacle of the apartment. This establishment truly juxtaposes the ancient with the current in a fashion that only the Italians have yet to master.
A happily hospitable staff, a fabulous location, and views that would strike nobility with awe, the Hotel Brunelleschi is truly a brilliant treasure of Tuscany, and our first recommendation for those looking to explore Florence.