Florence’s FAI Spring Days 2024


The frescoed ceiling of hall at the University of Florence’s academic office headquarters

Twice a year, inaccessible cultural landmarks all over Italy are open to the public FAI Spring Days is back this year in March on Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24. FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) is the National Trust for Italy, responsible for maintaining and restoring private historical landmarks throughout Italy. FAI is able to manage thousands of locations through donations or grants.

Close to 750 locations will be open all around Italy, from big cities to tiny villages, for a small donation (minimum €3). In Florence, doors will open at Palazzo Buontalenti (Old Medici Casino of San Marco), Marucelli Fenzi Palace, the Dean’s Office of the University of Florence (Rettorato). Two others, the Vittoriano Bitossi Foundation Museum Archive and the Spazio Brizzolari are located in province of Florence. The public will be able to experience the historical landmarks that are usually closed off to the public with guided tours, included for a minimum donation. 



PALAZZO BUONTALENTI: Also known as the old Medici Casino of San Marco: the land belonged to the Medici family beginning with Cosimo the Elder, who purchased it in the first half of the 1400s. The palace can be traced back to when Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici commissioned Bernardo Buontalenti to construct a workshop, laboratory, and study center for him in 1574.  The venue was used in 19th century as a barracks for the Lorraine Imperial Guard, then hosted the Customs house, and finally of the Ministry of Finance when Florence was capital of Italy in the late 1800s. In the 20th century it became the seat of the General Prosecutor’s office of the Republic. Today it is a part of the European University as the headquarters for the School of Transnational Governance. During the tour the public can visit the restored area that allows them to see the seventeenth-century frescoes painted in the north wing, along with retracing the glories of the Medici dynasty. 

Saturday and Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm

Location: Via Cavour, 57

MARUCELLI FENZI PALACE: The construction of the Palace is due to the Castelli family during the 16th century, then in the mid-17th century the palace was sold to the Marucelli family who expanded it and added the famous library who was designed by Alessandro Dori. Since 1971 the building has been owned by the University of Florence. One of the most beautiful buildings in the 17th century was designed by Gherardo Silvani. The tour will start at the monumental apartments on the ground floor, with the different halls featuring the frescoes by Sebastiano Ricci and the stuccos by Giovanni Baratta. The visit continues on the main floor where the ballroom is accessed by a monumental staircase.

Saturday and Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm

Location: Via San Gallo, 10

THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORENCE’S ACADEMIC HEADQUARTERS: This building is located in the historic center of the city, around civil and religious monuments, overlooking the current Piazza S. Marco. The headquarters were built on pre-existing architectures: a portion of the Lorraine stables and some rooms of the Convent of the SS. Annunziata. During this tour the public can learn about the University now and the history of what used to be hosted such as a menagerie of exotic animals such as lions a theatre, and the Medici stables. 

Saturday and Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm

Location: Piazza San Marco, 4

Province of Florence

VITTORIANO BITOSSI FOUNDATION MUESUEM ARCHIVE: The museum is located in the historic headquarters of the factory founded by Guido Bitossi in 1921 in Montelupo Fiorentino. The town is known for its ceramics, especially during the Renaissance, when many of the artisans worked for the Medici family, however, the community continues to thrive with artistic talent. The materials in the archive make up of around 7,000 ceramics, plaster forms and equipment, administrative and corporate paper documents and others relating to production, such as customer notebooks, drawings, and photographs. 

Saturday and Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm

Location: Via A. Gramsci, 12/14, Montelupo Fiorentino

SPAZIO BRIZZOLARI: Located in the municipality of Scarperia and San Piero, the gallery was created from the renovation of a factory built in the 1970s and was left unused for over 30 years. The site has been redeveloped with a more modern and original architectural look, similar to the works of Antonio Brizzolari, which are displayed there. The art center sprang from Giuseppe Brizzolari’s affection towards his brother, Antonio, who died in 2016. The museum is dedicated to Antonio’s artistic output, characterized by paintings with an intense use of color.

Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm

Location: Viale Kennedy, 188, Scarperia and San Piero. (Sophia Koch)