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The interiors of Palazzo Pitti photographed by Massimo Listri

text Teresa Favi
photo cover Massimo Listri

June 13, 2022

The Florence of Massimo Listri

The great Florentine photographer reveals his restaurants, monuments and secret addresses in the city

“I began taking photographs at the age of sixteen, at seventeen I had already published my work in several magazines. I’m sixty-eight years old, so I’ve been working as a photographer for over fifty years now”. The successful career of Massimo Listri, an interior photographer based in Florence and a citizen of the world, is well known and substantiated by over 60 books and endless pages in all major international magazines. But his artistic approach, in the past fifteen years, has attracted the attention of critics and collectors, won over by his large-scale images of opulent or modest, huge or intimate spaces, populated with sculptures of various ages and materials.

Massimo Listri is a master of architectural and environmental photography (©ph. Massimo Listri)

A fabulous journey through photographic images, evoking thousands and thousands of historical and artistic overlappings and causing an evasive sense of mystery and nostalgia. A hypnotic suspension of time evocative of myths and legends. The interiors of age-old architectural spaces are, in Listri’s vision, symbolic formulas to be suddenly stopped in a staggering standstill, bringing the syncopated rhythm of human time to a halt.

Palazzo Corsini (©ph. Massimo Listri)Giardini di Boboli (©ph. Massimo Listri)

His teacher? “I’m a self-taught photographer, influenced by Piero della Francesca’s and Vermeer’s rigor and by the terse style of film directors such as Antonioni and Bergman, but the person crucial to my career in the beginning was publisher Franco Maria Ricci; FMR allowed me to engage in the kind of photography that I was interested in: large interiors, obsolete spaces, unknown museums and places”.

Cappelle Medicee (©ph. Massimo Listri)

Your art requires a lot of preparatory work. What exactly? “ It’s all a matter of eye perception, of experience in polishing one’s taste, of being able to look and see, starting from a mix of instinct, sensitivity and training”. The most beautiful sensations you experience through your job? “ Being alone in places usually very crowded, like museums or public buildings, and feeling- even if only for a few minutes- like the absolute master of an inaccessible place “. The future plans you are the most looking forward to? “ A new exhibition in Venice, at the Correr Museum”.

5 places not to be missed

The Uffizi’s courtyard

“The city’s most photogenic view (as soon as the crane will be removed)”

Piazzale degli Uffizi (ph.Pasquale Paradiso)

Palazzo Pitti

“The home of the Palatine Gallery and the White Room, it’s the museum that I never tire to photograph”

Sala Bianca, Palazzo Pitti (ph. Massimo Listri)

Santo Spirito

“It’s my neighborhood and the one I love the most. An elegant and lively place, located in Florence’s Oltrarno area around Piazza Santo Spirito, with the Basilica’s mixtilinear façade in the background”

Santo Spirito

Via San Leonardo

“The most enjoyable walk on foot or by bike. An ancient road in the hills circling Florence, known for its views portrayed by Ottone Rosai”

Via di San Leonardo

Teatro della Pergola

“It’s one of the world’s oldest Italian-style theaters and also the loveliest one in Florence”

Teatro della Pergola (ph. Filippo Manzini)


There are some unique places that convey a sense of solemnity and dormant magic. One of them, according to Massimo Listri, is the art gallery owned by Giovanni Pratesi, a well-known Florentine antique dealer, art collector and patron of the arts specializing in 16th and 17th –century art and sculpture. The gallery is housed in Palazzo Ridolfi,  on Via Maggio, the street lined with antique dealers, where Listri also recommends Massimo Tettamanti’s gallery, which specializes in 18th and 19th-century painting and sculpture.


Giacomo Oleandro, the carpenter of Borgo Tegolaio. The shop was established by his grandfather Salvatore who, after the war, came to Florence from Palermo to serve in the army, married Giacomo’s grandmother and started a carpenter’s shop in the Oltrarno area. Giacomo was born just outside of Porta San Frediano and has always worked as a carpenter.


Art & libri  on Via dei Fossi, a bookshop specializing in art and antiques books. Started in 1996 by Alfredo Lupi and Andrea Baldinotti, the shop is a benchmark in the selling and documentation of art books in Florence.

Craft Shops

The shop of the master perfume maker on Via San Niccolò. It is also an archive filled with over two thousand rare essences and natural ingredients, collected  on his trips to the Far East and the West. Here, Sileno Cheloni creates custom-made perfumes unique of their kind, such as those for actress Helen Mirren and spacewoman Anna Lee Fisher.

Cafés and pastry shops

Dolci e Dolcezze on Piazza Beccaria. This sophisticated and tempting pastry shop was started, about 30 years ago, by Ilaria Balatresi  with her husband Giulio, today joined by their children Angelica and Lorenzo, who inherited his father love of and talent for the art of pastry-making. Try the famous chocolate cake based on a great-grandmother’s recipe, and the delicious rice pudding tarts.


When it comes to dining out in Florence, Massimo Listri never goes farther than 100 meters from home. So, either  Ruggero, Neromo, Fulvio  or Osteria Santo Spirito because it has outdoor seating.

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