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Lungarno degli Acciaiuoli, 4, Florence
| +39 055 2726 8000
Photo courtesy of Portrait Firenze
Portrait FirenzeLike most buildings in the heart of Florence, the building that houses Portrait Firenze comes from a much older time, around the 13th century. But the modern hotel is decidedly different than its counterparts in the luxury accommodation space, which tends to be a bit obsessed with its own Renaissance (and older) roots. That doesn’t mean the hotel lacks history; in fact, the building that stood on this spot for centuries before its destruction in World War II spent the last century and a half of its life as the opulent Grand Hotel Royal de l’Arno, lodging of choice for royalty, renowned writers, famous artists, and other luminaries of its day.
When the Ferragamo family turned the building into the jewel in the crown of its Lungarno hotel collection, celebrated Florentine architect and designer Michele Bönan created an homage to both the Ferragamo patriarch and the world he helped create in the 1950s and 60s. Per the hotel’s name, the walls throughout are lined with black-and-white photographic portraits of personalities of the era, from Sophia Loren and Franco Zeffirelli to Grace Kelly and Elsa Schiaparelli. Between the see-and-be-seen restaurant and the elegant and clean-lined midcentury decor, these jet-set celebrities would have felt right at home here in this modern palace outfitted with hardwood floors, angular gray sofas, and gilded glass doors opening onto private balconies overlooking the Arno.