On the weekend of 26 and 27 March, the European University Institute opened its doors on the occasion of the "FAI Spring Days". The initiative dedicated to Italy's cultural heritage and landscape, allowed free visits of over 700 sites in 400 cities that are usually little known or closed to the public.
The event was organised by the Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI), the National Trust of Italy, a private non-profit organisation whose aim is to protect elements of Italy's material heritage that might otherwise be lost. Many members of the EUI community volunteered to help make the open day a successful event.
The initiative provided the perfect opportunity to show the citizens of Florence the recently renovated Palazzo Buontalenti, the new headquarters of the EUI’s School of Transnational Governance (STG), located in the heart of the city. Palazzo Buontalenti was built in the 16th century as a casino by Francesco I de' Medici, who commissioned the famous architect Bernardo Buontalenti to design it. It was a "place of pleasures" and at the same time a laboratory where the Grand Duke cultivated his passion for science and alchemy. Over the centuries it was enlarged, rebuilt, defaced, turned into barracks, a customs house and a warehouse, but without losing any of its architectural charm, which restoration and renovation work is now bringing back to light.
Between Saturday and Sunday, more than 700 visitors visited 'Lotto Zero' with its newly restored lecture rooms (The Cosimo I Room, The Francesco I Room, The Ferdinand I Room, and The Cosimo II Room), the courtyard of 'Lotto 1' (which still needs to be renovated), as well as the courtroom of the former Florentine Court of Appeal, which was located in the building until 2012.
Read more about the history of Palazzo Buontalenti in our new STG brochure.
Watch the RAI TV service on the history of Buontalenti (in Italian).