The Putti of the Palazzo Albizi

A putto with a galero and Santo Stephano cross, on a ceiling in the Palazzo Albizzi, Florence
Along the Borgo degl'Albizi in Florence, fortress-like palazzi form deep canyons of stone facades, though which flows a river of pedestrian traffic.   At the center of this strada is the Palazzo Albizi.  Like most of these palaces the former home of the once-powerful Albizzi family is now divided into many shops, offices, and apartments, but is especially notable for reclaimed rooms on the street level, now the flagship store of "Maestri di Fabbrica." 

Maestri di Fabbrica, located in the former Palazzo Albizi
a telemon painted into a column

I am told that the frescoes were painted by Bernardino Poccetti or one of his pupils in the late 16th century.   In some areas the restoration of them is a bit ham-fisted but the overall design makes clever use of the space and there are plenty of thrilling details.

These trompe l'oeil murals now form a spectacular backdrop for the handcrafted work of a number of Tuscan artisans; displays of natural cosmetics and candles; a very nice buffet serving local specialties; and a boutique dedicated to fine local wines and olive oil. It wasn't until Theresa Cheek visited us in Florence that I discovered there was also a small back room with a surfeit of decorative art books at only €10 each.

putto with a river anchor and the Maltese cross of the Knights Hospitaller
One room in the shop was formerly a chapel; its ceiling populated with putti carrying symbolic items such as a fish hook-styled anchor, a cardinal's galero, and "Maltese" crosses, one a symbol of the Knights Hospitaller, a medieval religious military order, another a reference to the "Holy Military Order of St. Stephen Pope and Martyr" founded by Cosimo de' Medici in 1561.

Also, some pretty good putti painted into these ceilings. If you are like me and you are always looking for good putti. 

16th century trompe l'oeil murals in the former Palazzo Albizi

Maestri di Fabricci is located at Borgo degl'Albizi, 68, Firenze

all photos in this post by Lynne Rutter, Florence, February, 2014
click on images to view larger

*The English spell the name Albizzi. I have no idea why.



  1. Delightful! ...and the deep perspective trickery on the second image is insane!

  2. I would have been thrilled with just the book room in this shop, but to have room after room of ornamentation made this one of my favorite daily stops! I enjoyed wandering the streets of Firenze with you and hope to do it again in the future.

    1. In April they rearranged everything and the book display got much larger. SO dangerous when you know your luggage is already over weight.

  3. remember when your friend (name?) knocked the perfume bottle off the shelf? we hightailed it out of there tout d'suite! Pew!

    1. I don't think I was there. The perfume shop I think is next door, to MDF, but part of the same old palazzo. I kept meaning to go in there but never got round to it. Funny you think with 3 months there I'd have found time! ok next time!!


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