The Fortezza da Basso or Fortezza di San Giovanni is located in Viale Filippo Strozzi in the heart of Florence, a few minutes away from the city’s railway station, the main Florentine monuments and 5 kilometres from the Florence airport. It is easily accessible on foot, by car or by public transport. An area of over 80,000 square meters that hosts the most important trade fairs, congresses and events of the city and is managed by Firenze Fiera, the company that deals with the most important exhibition buildings in the city.
The Fortezza da Basso is accessible and can only be visited during trade fairs and there is no individual visit to the monument. The guided tour is provided only for events organized by the Mus.e Association, which takes care of the enhancement of the heritage of the Florentine Civic Museums and historic buildings of the city with an interesting program of initiatives open to the public.
Now, the calendar for the next visits conducted by Mus.e is not available due to Covid restrictions and the temporary closure of museums and monuments.
The history of Fortezza da Basso in Florence
The construction of the Fortezza da Basso was ordered by Alessandro de’ Medici and built between 1534 and 1537 on a project by Pier Francesco da Viterbo and Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, well-known military architects of the time. Initially, it was called Castello Alessandria and only after the construction of the Belvedere Fort in 1600 did it begin to be named Fortezza da Basso (because it was located on the plain while the Forte del Belvedere was located in the hills).
The reason for the construction is linked to the terrible episode of the siege of 1529-30, which caused thousands of deaths among soldiers and civilians. To ensure control of the city, the Medici decided to build the military fortress that was to provide accommodation for the troops, refuge for the rulers in case of revolt, intimidate the Florentines, and extinguish any idea ofa Republic with its majesty.
In the Lorraine period, other buildings were built such as the building for the officers and a theatre.
During the period in which Florence was the capital of Italy, its moats were levelled and most of the walls were buried.
Starting from 1967, a long restoration and adaptation of the Fortress was undertaken as the site of the Florentine exhibition centre.
Thanks to these works, the fourteenth-century Porta a Faenza, the ancient course of the Mugnone, a stream that flowed into the city’s moats, the interior of the Keep and some other structures of some interest, such as the powder magazine, are visible today.
Two new exhibition pavilions were created to host the Firenze Fiera events: “Spadolini” (1977) and “Cavaniglia” (1996).
In total, the rooms available for exhibitions and events, in addition to the two mentioned above are: the Arsenale Pavilion, the Lorenese Theatre, the Giaie Pavilion, the Rastriglia, the Quartieri Monumentali, the Palazzina Lorenese, the Sala della Ronda, the Polveriera and the Hall of Nations.
Inside the fortress there is one of the offices of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure with numerous scientific and restoration laboratories.
The fortress was built in a pentagonal shape to insert the base side into the pre-existing Arnolfian walls. At the centre of this longer side, the so-called keep was built, which incorporates the ancient Porta Faenza which was part of the second municipal circle of the thirteenth century.
Not everyone knows that in Fortezza da Basso there is a fascinating underground route that can be visited on organized guided tours.
Upcoming events in Fortezza da Basso
On the official website of Firenze Fiera, you can consult the updated calendar of all the events organized within the exhibition centre. The list of upcoming events is available at this link>
Among the numerous events, important medical congresses are repeated every year, the events of Pitti Immagine, the Florence Biennale dedicated to art and architecture and well-known events open to both professionals and the public such as Florence Creativity.
The Fortezza da Basso can be easily reached on foot from the Brunelleschi Hotel in fifteen minutes with a stroll through the streets of the historic centre.
During your events at Fortezza da Basso the restaurants and meeting rooms of the Brunelleschi Hotel are always available for business lunches, corporate events, training sessions or gala dinners at the end of the congress.
Our reservations office is at your complete disposal for quotes and personalized proposals at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 055.2737910.
A wide choice of rooms and suites at affordable rates is available directly on our website www.hotelbrunelleschi.it for those attending trade fairs throughout the year.