|Façade of the palace.|
Palazzo Davanzati is a palace in Florence. It houses the Museum of the Old Florentine House.
Palazzo Davanzati was erected in the second half of the 14th century by the Davizzi family, who were wealthy members of the wool guild. In 1516 it was sold to the Bartolini and, later that century, to the Davanzati family, also rich merchants (1578), who held it until 1838. After the suicide of Carlo Davanzati, it was split into different quarters and modified. After escaping the numerous demolitions of 19th century Florence, it was bought by Elia Volpi, an antiquarian, who restored in (his impression of) the original style.
In 1910, Volpi opened the building as a private museum (Museo Privato della Casa Fiorentina Antica). The contents of this museum kept changing as Volpi sold the furniture at auctions, including in a major sale of 1916 in New York. In the 1920s, Egyptian antique dealers Vitale and Leopoldo Bengujat acquired the building and its contents. In 1951 it was purchased by the Italian state and kept open as a museum. In 1995 it was closed for major restoration to consolidate the building that was falling down. The museum was partially reopened in 2005; the ground and first floors can now be visited.
The palace consists of a facade that unifies a grouping of earlier, medieval tower homes that the owner purchased with the intent to put them together.
It is constructed in sandstone, with three large portals on the horizontal axis, and three stories of mullioned windows. The topmost floor has a loggia supported by four columns and two pilasters that was added in the 16th century. The façade displays the Davanzati coats of arms and has traces of other decorations.
The interior courtyard has arches, vaults, and capitals in 14th century-style.