One night at Leone Blu, the ancient Palazzo Ricasoli
As me and my childhood friend were celebrating our 25th Anniversary as best friends we had chosen to enjoy a long weekend in Florence, Italy, in the end of May. The first night we spent at the spectacular Palazzo Ricasoli, where the beautiful 9 suites of Leone Blu are located. Arriving earlier than my friend who was coming fr Sweden, I was let in by a concierge and right after, the baroness and landlady Maria Teresa Ricasoli Firidolfi herself came and greeted and welcomed me to Leone Blu. It had been almost 6 months since we had first met in Paris where I was introduced to Leone Blu that opened up in 2015 for the public after three years of renovation. Now the time had finally come when I was going to experience this beautiful Palazzo after seeing so many beautiful photos of it, after all, who wouldn’t like to spend a night in a palazzo with 500 years history?
Maria Teresa decided to name the 9 suites (all uniquely designed) after her ancestors, and our suite, Orazio, was named after the author Orazio Ricasoli and also friend of Galileo Galilei. There is not very much information about these persons in the suites, but Maria Teresa would be happy to tell you more if you ask! A 55 sqm suite decorated with antique furnitures mixed with pieces of modern design, a very cozy double-bed, a walk-in closet, a beautiful wooden ceiling (oldest one in the entire Palazzo and carefully maintained) and a reproduction of a illustrated map over Florence on a wall. The suite had everything we needed including a bar and a coffe machine. The furnishings in the suites and the salons of the hotel are mostly from the Castello di Brolio, a castle that also belongs to the Ricasoli familly and is runned by Maria-Teresa’s brother Francesco that also manages the vineyards producing the Chianti Classico wine Brolio.
Leone Blu is located in the ancient Palazzo Ricasoli (built in 1474), near the river Arno and the bridge Ponte alla Carraira, overlooking the square Piazza Carlo Goldoni. Maria Teresa has named this unique place, Leone Blu (the blue lion in Italian) after the Ricasoli Firidolfi crest. It opened up in 2015 after 3 years of renovation, a project led by the Italian architect and designer Piero Brarda together with Francesca Lopetuso.
As soon as you step inside this renaissance palazzo you can feel and see the history and heritage through the furnishing and decorative objects. Given it’s very central location, Leone Blu has a walking distance to many of the museums, galleries, the Duomo and other must-see and to-visit places in Florence. Me and my best friend enjoyed our stay very much, we were impressed by our suite and all it’s beautiful ancient furnishing but also the elegant salons where we spent some time early in the morning before having our breakfast. The staff was very friendly and the service impeccable.
If you are looking for an authentic stay in Florence, in a place as unique as the city itself I’m sure you will enjoy Leone Blu. With its spacious and different designed 9 suites you will not only travel back in time with all the ancient furnitures, paintings and objects but also feel like home in a city far from yours. Don’t forget to visit their castle, Castello di Brolio, its vineyards and try their Chianti Classico wines ! I never had the time to do it but now I have a good reason to return :-)
Leone Blu – Piazza Carlo Goldoni, 2, Florence, Italy
Just by the river Arno, near the the bridge Ponte alla Carraira, you’ll find the Palazzo Ricasoli where Leone Blu is locatedThe private and very beautiful staircase with a red carpet, impressive stone pillars supporting the high ceiling. Among some of their guests were Tchaikovsky, Richard Wagner, William C.Bryant and Nathaniel Hawthorne that stayed here when the hotel was runned under the name Grand Hotel de New York in the 19th century.The family tree of Ricasoli Firidolfi, a reproduction on the wall, reminding of their earlier ancestorsThe nine suites are named after representatives of the Ricasoli family. Our suite, Orazio was named after the author Orazio RicasoliA beautiful bookcase filled with antique books in our suite Orazio Our suite with ceiling fresco, ancient furnitures from the castle Castello di Brolio, original paintings and a very comfortable bed, we slept like princessesThere was also a reproduction of an illustrated map over Florence just in front of the bed. According to Maria Teresa this map was that detailed that you could acctually find the houses and buildings that were on it.Dr Paolo Vranjes home fragrance Brolio, a Chianti Classico wine from Ricasoli’s vineyardThe bathroom was well equipped with toiletries fr Coté Bastide with argan oil Our walk-in closet that looked like a spaceship from outsideI got the opportunity to have a tour and visit some other suites at my arrival. Here is the beautiful Pandolfo suiteWith frescoed ceiling, and bedroom lamps made of parts from antique curtain rodsThe suite Giuliana with these very original and special designed bed lamps in glass Salone Bettina – used as a loungeHere you could find lots of books and magazines and relax in one of the cozy sofasFilled with antique furnitures and objectsSalone BettinaBeautiful fireplace and green comfortable armchairs in the Salone BettinaView from Salone Bettina at Leone Blu in FlorenceView from the bridge Ponte alla Carreira
The stay at the hotel (excl. breakfast) courtesy of Leone Blu. All content, photos and opinions expressed here are my own.