History of the Palace
The ancient Via del Giglio where it is located, whose origins date back to at least the 14th century, put in communication two important religious realities of the city, i.e. the basilica of San Lorenzo and the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Vigne (later renamed Santa Maria Novella) . The road followed a stretch of the city walls built by the Florentine Republic between 1173 and 1176.
A circuit of walls, the fifth in chronological order, which, however, would be short-lived.
In fact, the population explosion occurred in the Florence of the time – the 14th-century chroniclers attribute to the Florence of that time an estimate number of 100,000-120,000 inhabitants – led the Republic, little more than a century later (1286), to decide on the construction of a new great circle of fortified walls that would enclose a territory of about 520 hectares.
Palazzo Coppini stands out among the Florentine buildings of particular interest, given that in the whole of its structural and furnishing elements it is possible to identify some fundamental periods of the city enclosed by the circle of walls known under the name of the Mura Arnolfiane (named after their designer, Arnolfo di Cambio). The first is represented by what remains of the original medieval building, identifiable in the section of one of the city towers that would be “beheaded” in 1250 by virtue of a decree of the government of the Primo Popolo (First People), and eventually incorporated into aristocratic mansions. The second is represented by a phase of planimetric and structural expansion dating back to the 16th century, and among its prominent elements worthy of mention there is a beautiful spiral stone staircase and an elegant fountain set in a niche and surmounted by a mask typical of the mannerist grotesque. The third period, namely the 19th-century, is mainly characterised by an increase in volumes, which is part of the almost total renovation of the oldest master area and reflects, in the stylistic remakes, the neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance taste that was so popular between the late 19th century and the beginning of the early 20th century. 1
The Palace today
This building interwoven with the plot of the urban history of Florence has been open to public access. It has been completely renovated and now offers seven rooms for meetings and conferences, as well as exhibition and reception spaces that can accommodate up to 150 people: an initiative that is the result of the Foundation’s over twenty-year experience in the organisation of international and interdisciplinary meetings in favour of dialogue between civilizations.
The premises are home to numerous cultural testimonies: books, amounting to over 6,000 volumes written in 12 different alphabets and multiple languages, as well as artefacts donated by the Foundation’s many partners scattered around the world.
Each room is dedicated to the memory of one of the experts who to date have significantly contributed to the growth of the Foundation’s activities and its relations around the world.
In 2006 the Romualdo Del Bianco® Foundation – Life Beyond Tourism® had already promoted the public use of the vast and articulated space in which the Auditorium al Duomo (so named because of the view of Brunelleschi’s Dome) was realized, which promotes and hosts conferences, exhibitions, and performances, to which the Foundation’s international network has so far contributed with over 500 institutions in 83 countries in five continents.
In 2013 the Foundation promoted the extension of this space for the city of Florence by adding to this intended use the Palazzo Coppini, where the works that had already started for its conversion into a hotel were interrupted precisely for this purpose, to transform it instead into the seat of an International Study and Meeting Centre.
It is in this Centre where the Foundation conducts its studies and research to contribute from and with Florence to the cross-cultural dialogue through the use of cultural and natural heritage: for this purpose, Institutions, organisations, associations, and companies can make use of Palazzo Coppini, with its rooms and existing equipment, for carrying out their initiatives.
In 2017, Palazzo Coppini took the name of Museo Fondazione Del Bianco (Del Bianco Foundation Museum).
On the occasion of the inauguration of the Museum, the ceremony was held for the naming of the first and second steps after the Florentines Carla Guiducci Bonanni (to celebrate the 20th anniversary of her first meeting with the Foundation, when she was councillor for education at the Municipality of Florence) and Gianfranco Catarzi, with the placing of commemorative plaques in honour of some other personalities who have contributed significantly to the internationalisation of the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation network.uesto palazzo intessuto con la trama della storia urbana di Firenze è stato aperto a pubblica utilità. Completamente ristrutturato e dotato di sette sale per riunioni e convegni, oltre a spazi espositivi e di accoglienza che possono ospitare fino a 150 persone: un’iniziativa che è frutto della ultraventennale esperienza della Fondazione in incontri internazionali e interdisciplinari a favore del dialogo fra civiltà.