This is an itinerary devoted to love; seek out some of the most famous places dedicated to romance in the city of Florence, where dreaming is easy, especially in two!
The Chiesa di Dante is believed to be where Dante met Beatrice for the first time, falling in love with her immediately. Dating back to 1032, the church is home to Beatrice Portinari's, who died in 1291, and her wet-nurse Monna Tessa's tombs. Inside the church is a fresco that depicts Dante's first meeting with Beatrice, which was created on the 700th anniversary of her death.
When Brunelleschi's dome was being constructed from 1419 to 1936 wooden scaffolding was erected on the side where the Porta della Mandorla opens out onto the adjacent houses, where via dei Servi begins today. In one of these homes lived a young and beautiful woman, a seamstress, who used to look out of the window at the men as they worked. She started to exchange glances with one of them and they soon began to meet secretly in her house when the young woman's husband was away at work. Besides the damage done, the adulterous worker wanted to leave a sign on the Duomo of the affair: he created a cow's head with two horns and put it on the Duomo, facing the direction of the women's home. It was meant for his lover's husband, who was "cornuto", meaning a man who was cheated on by their spouse.
Another reason for the cow's head was because, at the time, cows would transport the material needed to construct the Duomo along via dei Servi. As a sign of gratitude towards these animals that worked alongside the builders, they erected and attached the cow's head to the cathedral.
In 1777, at the Santa Croce Basilica in Florence, the poet Vittorio Alfieri had an important encounter with Luisa Stolberg, Countess of Albany, the owner of a very famous literary salon in Florence at the time. A relationship started between the two and continued until Alfieri's death.
One of the most famous love stories in Florence occurred between Francesco I dei Medici and Bianca Cappello. Bianca Cappello was the daughter of a Venetian gentleman from an ancient noble family. Her parents were Bartolommeo Cappello and Pellegrina Morosini. In 1563, she fell in love with Pietro Bonaventuri and fled with him to Florence, where on December 12 that year, the two lovers got married. The Palazzo del Mondragone, on via dei Banchi, at the corner of via del Giglio, is where Bianca Cappello and Francesco de’ Medici met during a party; it was love at first sight. The Palazzo di Bianca Cappello, on via Maggio, 26, with the decorated facade, was renovated by architect Bernardo Buontalenti.
The hill of Bellosguardo was where Ugo Foscolo and his love Quirina Mocenni Magiotti lived. They resided in Villa Torricella, destroyed in the early 1900s, where Foscolo wrote the verses of Le Grazie (1813), dedicated to his lover.
The beautiful hillside overlooking Florence, in Settignano, is linked to the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, who lived there from 1889 to 1909. He had a romantic relationship with the actress Eleonora Duse and at Settignano he wrote the book Il Fuoco published in 1900 which she authorised. In the publication he describes his passionate love affair with the actress.
When Florence was the capital of Italy, the Villa Medicea La Petraia was the summer residence of King Victor Emanuel II of Savoy. In 1919, it became the property of the Italian State. You can visit the gardens as well as interior of the villa whose furnishings are all from the era of the reign of the Savoy monarchy. On the first floor, visitors can see the bedroom of the “Beautiful Rosina”, the lover of Victor Emanuel II. When his wife died, she became his regale consort after being given the title of "Countess of Mirafiori”.