FAI Days 2021: 15 and 16 May in Florence
The FAI Spring Days are back. Sammezzano Castle is already sold out. See the other sites to visit
On 15 and 16 May, the 29th edition of the FAI Spring Days will once again be opening up the doors of 600 sites that are usually closed or little-known, 50% of which will be outdoors to facilitate anti-Covid security measures, involving 300 cities and 19 regions across Italy.
Historical villas and parks, royal residences and gardens, castles and monuments revealing surprising spaces, archaeological areas and unusual museums, botanical gardens, nature trails, itineraries in villages that preserve ancient traditions will reopen their doors to visitors.
To take part in the FAI Days, it is compulsory to book on the FAI website by midnight of the day before the visit.
HERE IS THE MINI-GUIDE TO THE FLORENTINE SITES
Castle of Sammezzano
Leccio, municipality of Reggello, about 30 kilometres from Florence. It is one of the 7 Most Endangered Sites in Europe. The Sammezzano Castle owes its current appearance to Marquis Ferdinando Panciatichi Ximenes, who transformed the building in an orientalist style with references to masterpieces of Moorish art such as the Alahambra in Granada and the Taj Mahal in India. In particular, on the monumental floor there are rooms with incredible plays of colour and light.
The large 187-hectare park has a variety of tree species such as numerous sequoias, including the so-called Sequoia Gemella, a monumental tree 53.96 metres tall, the second tallest tree in Italy. Because of its originality, the castle has also been used for commercials and films, including The Tale of Tales and the recent short film for Dior, both by director Matteo Garrone. However, visits sold out shortly after bookings began.
The Student Hotel
Florence, Fortezza da Basso-Viali area. In a palace on viale Spartaco Lavagnini built by Giuseppe Poggi at the time when Florence was the capital of Italy (second half of the 19th century), the transfromation of Street Art is told through works of art and graffiti created in the large inner courtyard by young and established international creatives and street-artists including The London Police, Icy & Sot, Ben Eine Le Rat, Mr G, Favela Painting. The tour winds its way outdoors until it reaches the most scenic area of the entire building: the panoramic terrace with a view of Florence, reached by six flights of stairs of the monumental staircase.
The building was purchased in 2015 by TSH, the Dutch giant in the hotel sector, which has created The Student Hotel, an innovative form of accommodation aimed not only at students, but also at families, entrepreneurs and young startuppers with state-of-the-art spaces and services (gym, swimming pool, library, games room, restaurants at the conference room, co-working spaces).
Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. last entrance, viale Spartaco Lavagnini, 70, Florence - please arrive at the entrance 15 minutes before the booked time. Reservations required on the FAI website
SIgna. This historic residence, surrounded by a 12-hectare park, was founded in the 15th century by the Strozzi family and later passed on to the Cavalcanti family. When the Cavalcanti family died out, the last heir, Alessandro, passed the property on to the canon of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Francesco Maria Mancini. Its present appearance is due to Giovanni Meyer, founder of the paediatric hospital in Florence. After World War II, Villa Castelletti was purchased by Count Aldo Croff, who, together with his wife Angelina, decided to transform the rooms of the ancient building into a free institute for the reception and education of orphans and children from less wealthy families. Since 1980 the villa has been owned by the Allegri family, which hosts important cultural and public initiatives. The interior of the building has valuable finishes dating back to the end of the nineteenth century and stone furnishings from the Renaissance and late Mannerist periods, probably the result of antiquarian acquisitions. The guided tour will start from the monumental rooms on the ground floor, go up to the roof-terrace and end with a walk in the suggestive large park, a testimony of nineteenth-century Romanticism. There will be many anecdotes and stories of those who lived in this villa in the times closest to us.
Open from 10am to 6pm last entrance, Via Castelletti, 5, Signa (FI). Please arrive at the entrance 15 minutes before the booked time. Booking required on the FAI website