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Historic hotel in Florence city center
The Sina Villa Medici is a 19th-century historic building, situated where “Sant'Anna sul Prato” a former monastery in the area of Prato once stood. The area is a large open space in the western part of the historical centre of Florence, which has been used as a space for entertainment and walking since the mid-sixteenth century. The monastery was demolished after the Napoleonic suppression and the Palazzo de-Renzis Sonnino was built in its place, now the Sina Villa Medici, designed by the then young architect Luigi Cambray Digny.
In 1958 the founder of the Sina Hotels group, Count Ernesto Bocca stopped to admire the building’s nineteenth façade, certainly not imagining that his passion for art would open the door to a new world of hospitality.
As an admirer of beauty, Conte Bocca decided to buy the historic home to preserve and pass on the old art of hospitality. Once carefully restored and equipped with all modern comforts, the palace became an exclusive five-star hotel, the first of the Sina Hotels group and a landmark for international royalty, aristocrats and celebrities. It soon became famous for hosting the Shah of Persia and his wife Farah Diba during their trip to Italy. Specially embroidered linens from Bellini, then a famous embroiderer, were crafted for their stay.
Since then the Sina Villa Medici has hosted celebrities from around the world, including: Jack Lemmon, Kirk Douglas, Liza Minelli, Luciano Pavarotti, Riccardo Muti, David Bowie, Gregory Peck, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Roberto Benigni, Gianni Morandi, Anne Bancroft, Sean Penn, Kate Moss, Valeria Marini, George Clooney, Queen Rejna of Jordan, Christine Scott Thomas, Peter Falk, Ray Charles, Eros Ramazzotti, Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, Gianfranco Ferrè, Giorgio Armani, Pino Daniele, the U2, Annie Lennox, Vasco Rossi, Claudio Baglioni, Giorgio Albertazzi, Milva, Diane Keaton, Sergio Leone, Gianni Versace, James Brown, Joe Cocker, Antonello Venditti, Valentino, Sinead o’Connor, Billy Joel, Jackson Brown, Umberto Agnelli, Giorgio De Chirico, Barbra Streisand, Princess Anna of England, Elvis Costello, Christian Barnard, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Paul Simon.
The hotel also preserves an important historic letter in its archives, which was written by the then Mayor of Florence to Count Bocca following the flood of 1966, thanking him for aiding the city and for opening the Sina Villa Medici so quickly.
The Palace still preserves the traditional architecture today with antiques dotted throughout the hotel. The Royal Suite is the spearhead, having hosted personalities from around the world, and whose hall is under the Italian Ministry of Culture.
Interesting fact: between the refurbished Palazzo dei Principi Corsin and the hotel there is a warehouse with wooden doors leading up to the ceiling where the Brindellone, the large wooden structure used on Easter Sunday in the traditional feast of the Explosion of the Cart, is stored.