Palazzo Galletti: our School in the Heart of Florence

Palazzo Galletti Today 

Here, you can breathe a precious elegant atmosphere, history, and culture: we are very proud to be able to welcome you into this magnificent building, a true example of Florence’s timeless beauty!  

Our Europass School occupies the entire second floor, with every classroom facing an inner courtyard.   

The classrooms can accommodate from 8 up to 15 students and are well-equipped to provide the best learning experience possible. Each classroom is equipped with a TV, a blackboard, and air conditioning.   

In many classrooms, it is even possible to admire, even today, the frescoes on the ceilings, that traditionally decorated the interiors of the room.  

And if you need to take a break from the lesson, we have a set-up communal area where you can relax, eat, play chess, or read a good book!

The “Palazzo Galletti” is on via Sant’Egidio number 12, very close to the Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, and la Basilica di Santa Croce.   

Recently, the building has been renovated and refurbished into hotel de charme and a boutique B&B (on the first floor).  

Its close location to Teatre della Pergola and Teatro Verdi makes it a great place for a cultural and artistic stay in Florence.   

The history of the building

The roots of the building date back to the 19th century.
Built-in 1831 by the architects Vittorio Bellini and Antonio Catelani in a neo-classical style, it originally housed huge typography.

The foundations of Palazzo Galletti were erected in a humble area, full of ​​huts and dilapidated buildings.
The project was ordered by the Florentine printer and typographer Vincenzo Batelli, to set there his foundry, typography, chalcography, and lithography, with relative spaces for draftsmen, print-painters, and bookbinders (as well as his own house).

Some architectural notes

The facade is symmetrical and presents four niches, with marble statues of the Four Season: Spring carved by Lorenzo Bazzanti, Summer by Giovanni Insom, Autumn by Francesco Orzalesi, and Winter by Niccolò Bazzanti.

On the ground floor, the remarkable main entrance is set between beautiful trabeate Ionic columns, decorated with stucco works.

A three-ramp stairway with a pavilion vaulted marble balustrade with a skylight completes the magnificent entrance.
Originally, here there used to stand two other statues, representing the goddess Minerva, carved by Bazzanti, and Harpocraes, god of silence, carved by Emilio Fantarelli, surrounded by statues of the four major Italian poets: Dante, Petrarca, Ariosto, and Tasso.

In the attic, there was a prestigious old clock.
It is said that passers-by in Via Sant’Egidio knocked on the door in front of the n.12 because the street was too narrow to see the time marked by the clock.
You can’t hold back a sweet nostalgic smile, thinking about similar scenes in Florence in those years.

On the upper floors, you can see two fake arched central lodges, flanked by architraved windows.

The iron entrance gate is a priceless work of art, even mentioned by Marco Dezzi Bardeschi who included it among the iron masterpieces of the time:

“From the years of Lorraine Restoration, iron works in Florentine architectures increased: just to name some examples, that authentic masterpiece of neoclassical which is the entrance gate of Boboli Gardens from the part of Annalena (Cacialli, 1820), the wonderful rostral windows that dominate the main gates of Prince Borghese in Via Ghibellina (Baccani, 1821); that incredible handwork of pure technical virtuosity that is the self-supporting spiral staircase of the Institute of the SS. Annunziata in Via della Scala (Martelli, 1825) and still that piece of skill that is the door of the Batelli typography in Via S. Egidio (Bellini, 1831-1833)”.

Palazzo Galletti, the current home of Europass Language School, numbered among its past and famous tenants the Nencioni Institute, where a young Giosuè Carducci, the first Italian ever to win a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1906, taught for a short period.

The genius behind Palazzo Galletti

Vincenzo Batelli (Florence, 1786 – 1858) had a deeply creative personality and was a true art-lover.

Born in a poor family, he always showed an adventurous spirit that convinced him to enlist in the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinando III’s army and then in the Napoleonic army.

Settled in Milan in 1815, where he got some credit as a watercolorist. After a few years, with their friend Ranieri Fanfani, he opened a typography named “Batelli and Fanfani”. The activity gradually improved.

In 1825, for his libertarian ideals, he left Milan to avoid his eldest son being enrolled in the military service under Austrian rule.

Come back to Florence, he opened the typography in Palazzo Galletti.
He honored his work as a typographer, always trying to publish quality and value editions, accessible to lower classes both for the economic price and for the conditions of sale through the associative system, which he was one of the very firsts passionate supporters of.

For his typography, Batelli almost always relied on Italian industries.
His books were honored with prizes and medals in various Tuscan exhibitions.

He could count on the precious friendship and help of, among others, Filippo Pistrucci, D. Bertolotti, Felice Romani, Niccolò Tommaseo, and Ferdinando Ranalli, who was also literary director of the typography, for a while.

In July 1827, he decided on his own initiative to publish the first reprint of Alessandro Manzoni’s masterpiece “I Promessi Sposi“. The Batelli’s one boasts the primacy to be the first illustrated and popular edition.
The following year, he also published the first edition, in six volumes, of Manzoni’s Opera Omnia.

He also promoted the decoration of the niches of the pillars of Uffizi’s portico with 28 statues of illustrious Tuscans.

After 1835, due to some wrong investments, Batelli’s fortune became to decline.
Reduced in poverty, he had to close the typography and sell the building.
Forced to inactivity because of old age and the lack of work, he died in 1858.

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