Fortezza da Basso

Exhibition Venue

The Fortezza da Basso, a Renaissance masterpiece of military architecture, that since 1967 has been the main center for exhibitions in Florence, strategically located in the historical center. The Fortezza is the ideal venue for events of high artistic value, its evocative charm recalls the splendor of the Medici governance.

A unique location in the world, combining perfectly restored historic locations with modern pavilions such as the Spadolini Pavilion.

Access to pavilions and to interior spaces is made possible through three driveway and pedestrian gates (Porta S. Maria Novella, Porta Faenza and Porta Mugnone) and two pedestrian entrances (Porta alle Carra and Porta Soccorso alla Campagna).

Access for persons with reduced mobility is guaranteed in all the public areas of the venues.

Spadolini Pavilion – Ground Floor

The XI Florence Biennale will be held in the Spadolini Pavilion – Ground Floor. The Pavilion, built between 1974 and 1976 and planned by Florentine architect Pierluigi Spadolini, is the main building to organise fairs & congresses in Florence, and a multifunctional area thanks to its large and free surfaces, located inside one of the most important monumental areas of the city.

Area: 8.320 Mq

Height: 3.20 m

The artists can chose between different options of exhibition spaces:

WALL SPACE: suitable for artworks to be hung as it consists of 2, 3, 4, or 6 one-metre-wide vertical panels. The number of artworks that can be displayed varies depending on the exhibition space chosen by the artist, and the dimensions of the artworks themselves, but in any case the distance between the works must be no less than 10cm.

FLOOR SPACE: suitable for artworks that have to be placed on the ground or on a base. Available meters:1, 2, 3, 4, 6 mq.

VIDEO STATION: video artworks will be projected on 40” LCD or LED screens equipped with two headsets.

Fortezza da Basso – Historical Background

Originally known as Castello Alessandria, it was built by Pier Francesco da Viterbo and Antonio da Sangallo the Younger between 1534 and 1537 for Alessandro de’ Medici, who had been appointed Governor of Florence by his uncle Giulio de’ Medici, Pope Clement VII. The works began in May 1533 under the supervision of famed warlord Alessandro Vitelli and architect Pier Francesco Florenzuoli da Viterbo.
The first stone was laid on July 15, 1534, and most fortification works were completed by December.
The giant, pentagonal fortress was built quickly and with enormous expenditures of resources in order to secure the Medici’s control on the city following their recent

return after the Siege of Florence, and to provide lodging for a massive contingent of troops, as well as a refuge for the governors in the event of an upheaval, but also to impress and intimidate the Florentine population with its size.

To emphasize this effect, the side that faces the city was given a monumental aspect by Antonio da Sangallo. The fortress maintained its military function under the Lorraine dukes, when other buildings of architectural and environmental interest were erected, such as the officers’ apartment house and a small theater.

As many other similar constructions, the Fortress remained unused and was entrusted to the military administration until 1967.