The Badia Fiesolana is the European University Institute’s main building.
The church’s green and white marble romanesque façade likely dates to the 12th century, as does the stone bell tower that reigns over the building.
While the history of the place as a site of religious vocation dates back to Etruscan times, the main complex that we see today was constructed by Cosimo de’ Medici. Known as ‘Cosimo the elder’, this Medici patriarch saved the Badia from debt and disrepair.
He kept an apartment here, and made the Badia Fiesolana the heart of Florentine Neoplatonist study. In later centuries a series of religious orders inhabited the Badia; it was also once used as a hospital, and later as a military barracks.
In 1975 the Italian authorities made the Badia Fiesolana premises available to host the European University Institute. After extensive renovation work, the first researchers arrived in 1976. The building is now the seat of the central administration, the Library, and the Department of Political and Social Sciences.
Villa Schifanoia, built in the fifteenth century, was part of the Villa Palmieri estate, thought to be the setting for much of Boccaccio’s ‘Decameron’. Indeed, schifanoia may be translated as ‘to chase away boredom’.
Ornate wooden ceilings and doorways from the sixteenth century can be found throughout the villa. In the twentieth century the villa came into the hands of a series of Australian, English and American owners, who are responsible for the design of the elaborate Italian gardens below the main building.
The Italian authorities obtained the villa for the Institute’s use in 1989, and renovations began in 1992. The Law and History departments occupied the villa from 1993 to 2016, when it became home to the Robert Schuman Centre.
The Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace) is the historic city hall of Florence and has been the symbol of civic power in the city for over seven centuries.
This vast Romanesque palace is one of the most impressive town halls in Italy. Overlooking the Piazza della Signoria, with its copy of Michelangelo’s David and the gallery of statues in the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi, it is one of the most important public squares in the country.
The conference will take place in the extraordinary Salone dei Cinquecento (Room of the 500). The room is adorned with beautiful paintings and frescoes, and the ceiling is constructed of 39 panels designed and painted by Vasari, representing scenes from the life of Cosimo I de’ Medici.
Villa Salviati has been the home of the Historical Archives of the European Union since October 2012.
The villa dates back to the middle ages, but eventually came into the hands of the Salviati family, wealthy wool merchants and bankers, who became connected to the Medici family through marriage.
As the Salviati family’s fortune grew over the years, formal gardens and grottos with frescoes and elaborate stonework were added to the site. The Italian government obtained the villa for the EUI’s use, and, in addition to the Archives, it also houses the Department of Law and the Department of History and Civilization.