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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Wednesday, March 03 2010. 16:04

Palazzo Magnani Feroni: A Florentine Palatial Sojourn

The five centuries-old Palazzo Magnani Feroni in Florence is an excellent sojourn for wine lovers, honeymooners and vacationers who love to live life king size and style, writes Subhash Arora who was charmed  by the grandeur, location and affordability of the only all-suite historical palace hotel in Florence.

Photos By:: Adil Arora

A View from the Terrace- Alberto Giannotti

As you get out of the cab, it stands out like a grand old building squeezed between similar residential buildings on the road running parallel to River Arno, a block away. But as you enter through the wrought iron gates with the old family crest-  Palazzo Magnani Feroni- a historical palace hotel, you realize you have entered a renaissance palace with history, grandeur, opulence and elegance staring at you with the warm and welcoming staff anxious to give you a royal welcome.

During the French domination of Italy, the palace was owned by an important French dignitary who threw lavish parties here and invited kings and important dignitaries from different countries. It was bought by the forefathers of Alberto Giannotti, the present owner who also owns a winery in the Chianti area with Diadema wines. They are noticed for the luxurious looking labels made from Swarovski crystals and even real diamonds, though one of his red wines recently was rated 95 points by Wine Spectator.

‘There are only five or six other such palaces in Florence officially given the status of residenza d’epoca, meaning the historical palatial buildings operating as a hotel,’ says Antonella, Manager Guest Relations. ‘But this is the only property in Florence that has only suites,’ making it a unique holiday destination for those who may or may not have had the experience of staying in some of the many palace hotels in India.


Palazzo Feron--Breakfast Room

Located at the heart of the old Florence at Borgo San Frediano where only residents are allowed to bring in the cars, it is a bare 20 minutes walk away from the Duomo across the historic 5-minute away Ponte Vecchio, with several local restaurants with centuries of culinary history behind them. Relatively on the quieter side of Florence, it is like being in the big city and yet far away from the madding crowd.

The palace offers twelve suites- Deluxe, Executive and Junior-all epitome of luxury, elegance, history and culture. All the suites encompass a gallery filled with antique paintings and other objets d’art and decorated in style that brings back the majestic past when aristocrats, sovereigns and noblemen used to be invited here for lavish formal parties and grand balls.  

Murano Breakfast Room

Enter the breakfast room and you are greeted by opulence and elegance. The big buffet table is the center of attraction, not only for the eats set very stylishly but the huge, spectacular Murano Chandelier stretching to kiss the table from the splendid, coffered ceiling-which is made from the antique wooden panels brought from Palazzo Farnese di Roma by the builder. Apparently centuries ago in the renaissance architecture such ceilings were a big status symbol and it was customary to carry the dismantled roofs and reassemble at the new site.

All set in a very quiet and romantic setting-right till that cup of cappuccino with a heart shaped chocolate smiling at your face.


Apart from all the basic amenities available in 5-star hotels- it even has Bulgari bath products; it has a good size personal gym for the Palace guests, and a 24-hour billiards room.

One of the most beautiful features of the Palace is the roof top terrace which turns into a bar in summers and offers some of the best panoramic views of the historic city including the beautiful surrounding hills. Climbing the equivalent of 2 stories (the antique elevator that seats a couple for a slow, romantic ride for the honeymooners, carries you to only 2-high stories) is well worth it. In case of inclement weather, there is a wine bar at the ground floor stocked with Diadema wines and Champagnes that sell for € 50-120 (there is also a bottle with over 5-carats of real diamonds selling for € 8000 that would make a great souvenir fit for kings!). You can also taste some of the wines with their compliments.

Affordable Luxury

If you are a wine connoisseur, you would agree that one does not drink a Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello, or great Bordeaux and Burgundy everyday. Not everyone may choose to stay at the Magnani Feroni Palace for long periods. A high-end suite that includes a lap-top, printer and many extras may cost € 800 a day in high season.

Palazzo Feroni-Living Room of Suite

But if one is smart and selective, several options are available, especially during the low season and if plans are made in advance, the palace is within everyone’s reach. The suites start from € 300 an up and during low season and with direct and advance correspondence with the hotel, one can get a suite for even € 200  ( at Rs.13000 AI it is cheaper than most 5-star hotel in Indian metros!). The junior suites are from € 280-500 but have 2 bedrooms and a common living room.

If you consider the cost per square meter, the 100-150 sq meter suites with a huge expanse of common gallery space on each floor shared by only 2-3 suites, the hotel is a basement bargain for honeymooners and those looking for luxury or simply wishing to make the Tuscan holiday a more memorable and elegant experience.

A concluding note of caution, though- don’t clap hands like a maharaja and expect to find scantily clad lasses to appear at your command. The service is designed to be private, non-obtrusive and available on request through phone like everywhere else- including the concierge service and need not to be compared with what we are spoilt with in our palace hotels in India..

And be careful when taking a walk on the historical Ponte Vecchio which is barely 5-minutes away. You may end up spending a lot more than you would for a week’s stay at the palace hotel, buying the tempting, famous and glittery Made in Italy jewellery available in centuries-old jewellery shops of international fame.

For details visit or contact

Location: Borgo San Frediano 5.  20 minutes from the airport by taxi costs € 20- 10 minutes from the Railway Station - Firenze Santa Maria Novella costs € 8. Extra € 1 per bag is standard. Tariff- € 280-800 per day for a suite-breakfast included

Subhash Arora


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