HOTEL RIVOLI and its History
The bas-relief of the Franciscan coat of arms togheter with the original, large and wooden door of 1500, lead you into the Best Western Hotel Rivoli.
The oldest part of Rivoli’s building dates back to the XIV century. Since 1500 the main building was dedicated to give hospitality to poor travellers and pilgrims, who could not afford to stay in a guesthouse and it was risen up just besides a small Franciscan convent. Its emblem represents two crossed arms stretched out towards to a Cross.
An arm is naked, the other is covered by a sacral habits to symbolize the two Franciscan currents: the spiritual one (that observe strictly the poverty rules dicted by Saint Francesco) and the convent one (that allows the right to possess common goods).
The actual Patio of the Hotel Rivoli, delimited by columns in “pietra serena”, was originally the Convent Cloister: this courtyard is surrounded by a porch where religious could walk, pray, read and conduct daily life. In the ancient cloister is always visible a pre-Renaissance architectural evidence, given by the pointed arch placed at the entrance of one of today’s Hotel Rivoli rooms.
The wooden beam ceilings, still well preserved, date back to the first half of XIV century and nowdays is the hall of Hotel Rivoli where clients can still admire the marble fountain of 1561, originally placed inside the cloister.
Dating back to the second half of the Renaissance period the elegant ceilings with cross vaults, typical architectural shapes of Florentine Renaissance are nowdays the ceiling of the bar and of the wide lounge area.
The window frames of “pietra serena”, that overlook Via della Scala, are also original of the Renaissance period as well as the column capitals in the internal portico.
Thanks to the cadastere and the council archives we can now know who were the noble families who bought and lived in the palace. Among all, the most famous was the goldsmith and sculptor Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) who lived and worked here when he came back to his beloved Florence in 1540, after a long period in France.
In 1920, upon the decision of the Archbishop of Florence, the Franciscan community was gradually replaced by the Canossian Sisters (grounded in Verona by Blessed Maddalena Di Canossa in 1808) who retained the ownership of the building untill 1963, when they decided to sell it to the florentine Mrs Mirra Vegni, founder of Best Western Hotel Rivoli, and mother of the current owner, who began his studies with the Canossian Sisters and made the hotel and the art of welcoming become the real passion of his life.