Florence travel guide

Florence and opera

Perhaps not everyone knows that...the first opera in the world was performed in Florence, in the splendid and prestigious Renaissance palace in Via Tornabuoni, once the headquarters of the Banca Commerciale Italiana.

The palace was built when Giovanni Tornabuoni, the wealthy patron who commissioned the frescoes in Santa Maria Novella and brother of Lucrezia, mother of Lorenzo the Magnificent, unified several of the family's tower-houses (consorteria) into one large palace.

Subsequently with Alessandro de Medici, the future Pope Leo XI, ("Pope Lightning" for its short duration of a few days) it became a point of reference for the many cardinals who were hosted there.

It was when Jacopo Corsi, a refined patron who was passionate about music, became the new owner of the palace that the Accademia della Musica was born.

The group included artists of the calibre of Vincenzo Galilei, father of the astronomer Galileo Galilei, Giulio Caccini, Pietro Strozzi and many others.

Thanks to Corsi, in 1594 the Fable of Daphne, composed by Jacopo Peri with a text by Rinuccini, was performed for the first time in a completely private form. It was the first Italian melodrama that later gave life to opera.

At the side of the palace there is a marble slab that commemorates the birth of melodrama in the palace.

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