Seldom does a traveller find a hotel that has successfully retained the uniquely warm atmosphere of a private dwelling. And when that dwelling was once an elegant patrician home in the heart of a city like Florence, complete with private garden, it is a rare treat. In 1956, the Ciardi Dupré family converted a portion of their private residence, a 15th century palace, into the Hotel Monna Lisa. The countess who owns this palazzo and still lives here, decided to name it after the Mona Lisa, as a way of “bringing” Leonardo’s masterpiece to Florence.
The many private sitting rooms are furnished with the family’s antiques and oriental carpets, and graced with superb artistic works, paintings and sculptures. The warmth and old-world charm of the interior attribute to the feel of a family home and offer a most comfortable ambience for relaxing, reading or keeping up one’s journal. The bedrooms are exquisitely furnished and designed for comfort.
Two additional wings of the residence – one, the original limonaia and the other, the old stables - have been tastefully converted to accommodate guest rooms. These look out onto a private garden. After a morning of intense sightseeing, the garden offers respite. Beneath the leafy trees, on a bench set among flowerbeds and old terracotta urns, one could sit for hours contemplating the great art of Florence, while at the same time making an art of leisure itself, the way travel used to be. Indeed, one feels less like a tourist and more like a traveller at the Monna Lisa. This, above all else, is what makes a stay here so appealing.
All images and reviews copyright 2015 by Ginda Simpson
Hotel Monna Lisa ~ Original watercolor painting by Ginda Simpson