Openings: The 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino debuts in Florence
Of the many and various things nearly twenty-two months of COVID lockdowns on and off our lives, the ability to travel to Florence was certainly among the most felt. Indeed, we have often wondered if our soul itself was not trapped in a kind of Renaissance time distortion, which allows us to vaguely appreciate the modern world, without ever feeling truly belonging to it.
No surprise then, one of the things we love most about the Firenze Fair is the ability of its citizens to instantly conjure up breathtaking little hotels in a forgotten 15th century palace or convent, and to act like it just isn’t a problem. at all. But now the Hamburg-based company 25hours Hotels have undertaken such a conversion on a much larger scale, while also adding their particular brand of Hanseatic hip to the mix. Indeed, a few steps southwest of Piazza Santa Maria Novella, they have transformed the old monastery of the Church of San Paolino into a 171-room boutique hotel that is truly nothing like you. find in the city.
Facing Piazza di S. Paolino and spanning an entire block of a predominantly non-touristy area, the 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino insolently revolves around Dante’s theme. The Divine Comedy, with references to “hell” and “heaven” used throughout. Fittingly, provocative Turin-based designer Paola Navone was enlisted for the task, and her outraged inclinations were allowed to run wild. Rooms, for example, are categorized as Paradiso, decorated in sparkling whites with pops of turquoise, and Inferno, characterized by deep red patterned wall coverings and dramatic red draperies – so you’ll be on your way to hell with extreme style.
Italians, as you may or may not know, don’t usually spend a lot of time in hotel restaurants. But you could easily see the hotel’s restaurant San Paolino attracting a regular crowd from the local creative ensemble, with its cool-designed glass-domed dining room, courtyard seating, and Tuscan wine list. There’s also the Companion Bar for late-night cocktails, and the Alimentari, which in Italy sits somewhere between a small local grocery store and a hangout over a glass of wine; here it is done in bright blue tones, with pieces of meat hanging from the ceiling so as to almost resemble a particularly outlandish installation by Damien Hirst.
Of course, Venice and Rome are obviously much more viscerally linked to the world of cinema than Florence. But why not, the hotel has the underground Cinema Paradiso, where a curated collection of celluloid classics, new and old, will be screened to guests and local moviegoers.
There was never really a model for a hotel in Florence as a “stage” per se; Indeed, Florentines like to hang out with their inhabitants. But considering how 25hours has managed to create such a buzz in cities like Berlin and Vienna, we’re betting it’s happening pretty organically here, too. Oh, and if you look for us, you will certainly find us sitting closer to Hell.