This book tells the fascinating story of the Casa Davanzati museum through an extraordinary collection of vintage photographs. At a time when Florence was preparing to become the nation’s capital and its historic center was “restored to a new life” with the demolition of many Medieval buildings and houses, Palazzo Davanzati was miraculously spared—partly thanks to initiatives by British and American scholars and intellectuals. Acquired in 1904 by Elia Volpi, painter, restorer, and antique dealer, the building was lovingly restored and opened to the public a few years later, on April 24, 1910. In 1927, ownership of the building passed to the Vitale and Leopoldo Benguijat brothers, antique dealers from Egypt but operating in London, Paris, and New York. The history of Casa Davanzati becomes even more surprising for the glimpses that it offers of certain moments in Florentine social life. One example dates from 1881, when the building served as a gambling house. Sometimes at dawn, after winning and mainly losing at the tables, one Carlo Lorenzini known as Collodi would leave the building. That same year, in the Giornale per i Bambini
[Children’s Magazine], he started to publish the installments of his “Story of a puppet”—the future Pinocchio.
Texts by Cristina Acidini and Maria Grazia Vaccari.PDF format