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L. Gelati, Il dolce far nulla sulle rive dell?Arno

American Impressionists in Florence

Relive the 'American experience'

Map for 43.768732,11.256901
All the most important places to relive the experience of Americans who were fascinated by Renaissance Florence.

CASA GUIDI - Home of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning
Casa Guidi is a museum in the former home in which English poets Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning lived from 1847 until Elizabeth’s death in 1861. They received numerous American guests here including sculptors William Wetmore Story, Harriet Hosmer, Hiram Powers and Horatio Greenough, as well as authors Nathaniel Hawthorne and James Russel Lowell, poet and journalist (and New York Evening Post publisher) William Cullen Bryant, author, journalist and patriot Margaret Fuller and composer Francis Boott.
Address: Piazza San Felice 8, Florence. Opening hours : Monday to Wednesday–Friday 3.00–6.00 pm (April–November)

The cemetery, a veritable pantheon of American painters in Florence, offers visitors a unique glimpse of the community in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is the last resting place of many of those who, lured by the mythical aura of Florence, elected the city as their spiritual home, spending the rest of their life here and feeding off that myth to the end of their days. The cemetery’s “residents in perpetuity” include such artists, painters and sculptors as Henry Roderick Newman, William Gould, Francis Alexander and his daughter Francesca, Elizabeth Boott Duveneck, Thomas Ball, Edward Russel Thanter, and the most famous American illustrator of all, Howard Pyle. In addition to numerous American artists, the cemetery also hosts the mortal remains of some of the great art collectors who lived in Florence, including Egisto Paolo Fabbri and Charles Loeser, as well as writer Vernon Lee.
Address: Via Senese 184 (Due Strade) Florence. Tel. +39 055 2320064
Opening hours: 1 to 31 March 8.00–12.30, 14.30–17.00; 1 April–30 September 8.00–12.00, 15.00–18.00; Closed: Sunday

In 1827 the Swiss Reformed Evangelical Church purchased some land outside the 14th century walls of the city, close to Porta a Pinti (a city gate subsequently demolished along with the walls), for the purpose of constructing an international and ecumenical cemetery. Carlo Reishammer, then a young student of architecture, designed what was to become known as the English cemetery on top of a small hill or mound. Giuseppe Poggi gave it its present shape when he demolished the city walls and created the boulevards that took their place after Florence became the capital of Italy in 1856. As part of his overall plan, he designed the cemetery as an island in the middle of the oval Piazza Donatello. This “garden of memory” contains 1,409 tombs of writers, artists, merchants and other personalities from sixteen different countries. The cemetery’s American “residents” include Hiram Powers and his three children, and Theodore Parker, a preacher nicknamed the “American Savonarola”. The cemetery, which became too small for the needs of a growing foreign colony in the city but which had no room to expand, was finally closed in 1877.
Address: Piazza Donatello 38, Florence. Tel. +39 055 582608.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 14.00−17.00 (Winter);
15.00−18.00 (Summer), Monday 9.00−12.00; Closed: Saturday and Sunday.

Living immersed in the style of the Florentine Renaissance was both a fashion and a deeply felt need for many Americans in the late 19th century. New styles in home furnishing crossed the Atlantic in the holds of steamers laden with chimney breasts, with carved chairs, with sculptures, chests and carpets. Major auctions in New York dispersed a veritable treasure trove of items and objects linked to the Italian Renaissance, from majolica and small bronzes to majestic dining tables, to refined carved and gilded frames, braziers and mortars – in fact just about anything that could serve to decorate wealthy American families’ drawing rooms in the opulent, stately Florentine taste inspired by the fine palazzi of 15th and 16th century Tuscany. Stefano Bardini, a Florentine antiquarian of international renown, was one of the leading players in this splendid season. The museum devoted to his life and work recreates the fabulous atmosphere of the day, from the colours of its walls to the collections that reflect the taste and furnishings of the Renaissance at the height of its glory.
Address: Via dei Renai 37, Florence. Tel. +39 055 2342427.
Opening hours: Saturday, Sunday, Monday 11.00-17.00. Closed: Tuesday-Friday, 5 December, 1 January.

The museum is enshrined in the Renaissance palace which Herbert P. Horne housed his rich collection of 14th and 15th century Florentine works of art. Assembled in the early 20th century, the collection exemplifies not only what was available on the antique market at the time but also the kind of thing that Horne himself, as a go-between, chose to offer the wealthy American collectors who availed themselves of his services. Their number included John J. Johnson from Philadelphia (who added paintings by Duccio and Botticelli to his collection thanks to Horne) and John P. Morgan. The museum archives hold the correspondence between Horne and Edward Robinson and Bryson Burroughs, respectively the director and curator of painting at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, both of whom resorted to Horne’s advice on more than one occasion.
Address: Via de’ Benci 6, Florence. Tel. +39 055 244661.
Opening hours until 15 April: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 9.00-13.00; Friday−Sunday 10.00-17.00. Closed: Wednesday
Opening hours from 16 April: Monday-Saturday 9.00-13.00. Closed: Sunday and public holidays.

DAVANZATI PALACE - Museum of the Old Florentine Home
The museum – situated in the 14th century palazzo of the Davizzi family, which passed into the hands of the Davanzati family in the late 16th century – recreates the ideal setting of a Florentine home in the 14th to 15th centuries. Antiquarian Elia Volpi bought Palazzo Davanzati in 1904 and spent five years restoring the premises as part of a plan to turn it into the perfect reproduction of a medieval Florentine home. The result was a palazzo whose decoration and furnishings reflected the tastes of the Anglo-American community in Florence between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a community in which such luminaries as the Actons, Herbert Horne and Charles Loeser played a prominent role. Palazzo Davanzati became a favourite attraction for numerous Florentines, noble and commoner alike, for scholars, for leading lights from the world of art and culture, for a swarm of journalists who devoted enthusiastic articles to it in the local, national and international press, and naturally also for a large number of Florentine and foreign antiquarians and collectors.
Address: Via Porta Rossa 13r, Florence. Tel. +39 055 2388610.
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 8.15-13.50. Closed: second and fourth Sunday of the month; first, third and fitth Monday of the month; 25 December; 1 January.

Charles Loeser, the son of a wealthy American merchant of German origin, moved to Florence in the late 19th century. Befriending Bernard Berenson, he became a well-known connoisseur himself and assembled a dazzling collection of sculptures, paintings, drawings and prints from ancient times to the 18th century, along with several works by Cézanne. When he died in 1928, he left an important part of his medieval and Renaissance collection of mainly Tuscan works to the city of Florence for display in Palazzo Vecchio. The works include Bronzino’s famous Portrait of Laura Battiferri.
Address: Piazza della Signoria, Florence. Tel. +39 055 2768325
Opening hours: 9.00-19.00 opening hours may vary on special occasions 9.00-14.00 Thursday and on midweek holidays. Closed: 25 December.


The museum is home to a series of unique and distinctive artefacts that mirror the taste and collector’s zeal of its founder, Frederick Stibbert (1838-1906). Set in the midst of a large romantic park, the museum is best known for its collection of arms and armour and for its dazzling Oriental collections. Stibbert’s home-cum-museum was visited by many of Florence’s English and American visitors in the second half of the 19th century.
Address: Via Stibbert 26, Florence. Tel. +39 055 475520. Open: Monday-Wednesday, 10.00-14.00; Friday to Sunday, 10.00-18.00. Closed: Thursday, 8 April, 1 May


In her "Italian Villas and Their Gardens" (London 1903), Edith Wharton writes: “Today... a garden must give us the impression that the house extends into the open air, and its several aspects must conceal one another in such a way that, when walking in the garden, one receives a set of impressions rather than a single view... The best example of such an arrangement is to be found… at Villa Gamberaia... after walking in that garden, which is relatively small in area, one comes away with the impression of having spent more time and discovered more horizons than one actually has”.
Address: Via del Rossellino 72, Florence. Tel. +39 055 697205 - +39 055 697090
Garden Opening: 9.00–18.00; Sunday 9.00–16.00
Ground floor and Loggia by appointment only (by e-mail) for groups of at least 10 people.

The Firenze Card admits the holder to all of the most important museums, villas and historical gardens in the city of Florence. It will also admit the holder free of charge to the exhibitions hosted in Palazzo Strozzi: "Americans a Firenze. Sargent and the American Impressionists" and "American Dreamers. Reality and Imagination in Contemporary American Art".
The card, which is valid for 72 hours, allows you to visit each of the museums in the circuit (www.firenzecard.it) once. The card will admit you to the permanent collections, temporary exhibitions and all the other activities organised by the museums in this collaboration without your having to queue or book. The card also allows you unlimited use of every means of local public transport in the city for 72 hours after validation.
For further information, or to buy your Firenze Card, please visit: www.firenzecard.it