New York has 5th Avenue and Paris has the Champs Elysees, but does Florence, the capital of Tuscany, have a famous fashion street? Not many people know that Florence is not only the cradle of the Renaissance, but also a fashion center. Everybody who has visited Florence at least once knows where to find the top brands shops – on Via de’ Tornabuoni.
The History of the Tornabuoni Family
The street is named after the Tornabuoni family which is one of the oldest and most recognized families of Florence. In 1444 the family joined the prominent Medici family when Lucrezia Tornabuoni married Piero de’ Medici, son of Cosimo de’ Medici. On her wedding day she was nineteen years old. Lucrezia was a noble woman known for the poetical hymns, sonnets and narrative poems she composed. Some of her work was published during her lifetime and after her death an anthology was published.
Giovanna degli Albizi – the Inspiration of Ghirlandaio and Botticelli
Another interesting member of the Tornabuoni family was Giovanna degli Albizi who married Lorenzo Tornabuoni, cousin of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Her beauty was known not only in Italy, but all throughout Europe. Their wedding was mentioned in Florentine historiography as one of the most important events of that period and many important dukes, grandees and ambassadors were invited.
Giovanna died in 1477 and was buried in the Tornabuoni’s Chapel in the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella. The frescoes of Giovanna on the Chapel’s walls were painted by Domenico Ghirlandaio who had already painted her two years before. Her portrait is known as the “Giovanna degli Albizi Tornabuoni”. Sandro Botticelli was also inspired by Giovanna’s beauty when he included her in the fresco “Venus and the Graces Offering Gifts to a Young Man”.
Via Tornabuoni Today – Luxurious Shops, Hotels and Restaurants
Today, Via de’ Tornabuoni is one of the most elegant and luxurious shopping streets in Florence. Historically, there were Roman walls where the street is now. It is also one of the most beautiful and, because of the 15th to 19th century palaces, the most interesting streets in Florence. Today tourists can find in the historical palaces the most magnificent fashion and jewelery boutiques of Italian and foreign designers. It hosts also many posh hotels, restaurants, clubs and cafes.
List of the Most Luxurious Designers’ Shops in Via de’ Tornabuoni
- Salvatore Ferragamo – (no. 2-14) shop + museum
- Gianni Versace (No. 13-15)
- Pucci (No. 20)
- Max Mara (No. 22)
- Tiffany (No. 25)
- Burberry (No. 27/R)
- Yves Saint Laurent (No. 29)
- Sergio Rossi (No. 35-37/R)
- Cartier (No. 40)
- Prada for women (No. 53) and Prada for men (No. 67)
- Christian Dior (No. 57)
- Bulgari (No. 61-63)
- Bucellati (No. 71)
- Gucci (No. 73)
- Giorgio Armani (No. 81)
- Roberto Cavalli (No. 83)
- Pomellato (No. 89-91)
- Tod’s (No.103)
Don’t forget that also high fashion designers offer sales every January (winter collection) and July (summer collection). So happy shopping!