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The history of hotel Pendini and Piazza della Repubblica

The History of Hotel Pendini is related with the 2,000 years history of Piazza della Repubblica.

A tipical roman military camp
Florence was founded by the Romans in 50 a.c. as a camp, military base to fight the nearby Etruscan village of Fiesole, who was rebel to the Roman empire.

The location of the original military campus is still clearly readable in the actual street map of Florence. The campus had the shape of a rectangle, crossed by straight streets and delimited by a surrounding wall that followed the nowadays path of Via Tornabuoni, via dei Cerretani, via del Proconsolo.

In Via del Proconsolo you can see on the ground a brass sign to marks the place where once was located one of the ancient gates of the town.

The square, as it looked like 2,000 years ago.
The square, as it looked like 2,000 years ago. At the intersection of the two main streets there was a rectangular square, called “forum”. It was the main place where people used to meet. Public ceremonies and a market were held there. The actual Piazza della Repubblica is founded in the same place of the antique roman “forum”.
On the north side of the square, where today is settled the Hotel Pendini, there was a temple dedicated to Jupiter and Juno.

The location of the antique temple in relation to the actual Hotel Pendini.

During the Middle Age and the Renaissance the square was seat of a market. After the unification of Italy, in 1861, Florence was declared capital of Italy, for a few years. The government decided to renovate some parts of the historical center. Many buildings were flattened, and new ones surged to surround the piazza. The goal was to refresh the medieval Florence with a little bit of the atmosphere of Paris, the most important capital in Europe at that time.
Many cafés born in the piazza, such as Paskowski, Gilli, Giubbe Rosse, where artists and intellectuals started to meet. The goal indeed has been achieved, as in those Florentine cafés, as it happened in the cafés of Paris, born important cultural movements such as dadaism and futurism. In 1879 the building with the big arch was terminated. At that time, Mrs. Pendini founded on the top floors of that building the pensione that still holds her family name. From 1930 the pensione changed several owners, from one family to another, but still today the clients of Hotel Pensione Pendini are welcomed in the atmosphere and style of the “Belle Epoque”.

Portrait of Mrs. Pendini, circa 1890.

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