What happens when a feud between the two biggest families in Florentine history causes property rivalry? Grand palaces get built. The Medici and Strozzi families were both very big powers in the city around the 1400s and 1500s. When the Medici banned the Strozzi family from Florence in 1434, Filippo Strozzi the Elder moved to Naples, where his skills as a banker made him very wealthy. He returned to Florence in 1466 after reconciling with the Medici. He decided he wanted to show off his success in a way that would make it obvious to the Medici that his family was relevant to the power play.
He commissioned Palazzo Strozzi to be built on via Tornabuoni, and he wanted it to be spectacular. The original building was designed by Benedetto da Maiano, then handed over to Simone del Pollaiolo in 1490. The Palace wasn't completely finished until 1538, and Filippo died before he could see the finished product. One thing that makes the building special, is that unlike Palazzo Medici which was built on a corner with only two walls exposed to streets, Palazzo Strozzi is surrounded by streets on all four sides, giving it a strong and independent presence. The Strozzi family remained in possession of the palace until 1937, and afterwards it became managed by the City of Florence.
Now, Palazzo Strozzi is used to host the largest temporary exhibitions in Florence. It has a permanent exhibition year-round on the history of the Palazzo on the ground floor along with a café. In the areas of Piano Nobile and Strozzina, the museum hosts three other exhibitions throughout the year. Currently on display is the sculpture exhibit, "Anche le Sculture Muoiono". Before that, there was an exhibit of bronze sculptures of the Hellenistic world titled, "Power and Pathos". Starting in September, the Palazzo will feature works of "Divine Beauty from Van Gogh to Chagall and Fontana". Whatever the museum has on display is sure to impress. In the past, they have hosted exhibitions with extraordinary numbers of visitors, such as "Botticelli and Filippino Lippi", which was Italy's most visited exhibition in 2004.
Besides art exhibitions, the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation focuses on events that will connect visitors with the city, beyond the walls of the palace. The events calendar on their website changes throughout the year, and aims to expand the experiences of culture and history for people of all ages and backgrounds. It also hosts workshops for schools and a variety of other programs to encourage people to delve deeper into art education and experience.
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