It was thanks to Cambray Digny’s neoclassical and eclectical taste and his assistant Giuseppe Martelli, who had learned avant-garde building techniques in France, that the loggia, whose construction took until 1892, turned out to be such a gracious architectural structure.
The unique, learned consideration of the hint of Egyptian style recreated in the internal vestibule and the external forms of a small helenistic temple with a pronaos made up of beamed sandstone columns resting on a high base adorned with decorations of palms and garlands of leaves in stone achieved from original plaster casts of the pantheon in a unique neoclassical style.
The daring structural choice unites the elegance of the building to the grace of the decoration.
This results less evident today due to walls having been built between the columns presumably dating from when it was owned by the noble family of Giorgi de Pons who in the meantime lived in the adjacent building.
The interior was studied according to the tastes of the period, which warm to French and Egyptian suggestions and classical echoes which can be felt in the entrance hall through the four monolithic columns and in the bas-relief inspired by the antique art found within the hotel rooms.
The alfresco ceilings of the great hall (the present-day bedroom in the luxurious grand duke suite) were painted by Luigi Ademollo, invited to Florence by the grand duke Ferdinando III and his wife the grand duchess Elisa to decorate Palazzo Pitti. In the alfresco paintings, which can still be seen in the elegant suite representing mythological scenes with precious decorations, there is the same splendour that the Lorena’s wanted to renew following the prestigious restoration which the French had started during their occupation of the city.
With the great urban works defined by the plans of the architect Giuseppe Poggi, who in the period in which Florence was the capital of Italy (1865-1871), carried out a profound and impressive transformation of the city. The whole area’s aspect, the historically free allotments and parks, notably changed and new roads, squares and buildings were created destroying ancient settlements and enveloping existing constructions adopting the new design trends whilst suiting the decorum needs of the new borghesia.
Palazzo Giorgi de Pons which hosts the heart of the Executive Hotel is fruit of this transformation with its elegant façade in ivory and grey plaster with large windows, the entrance enriched by a terrace supported by four main columns surmounted by a coat of arms showing an almond tree encircled by a transverse sash.
Even before this building underwent Poggi’s restyling plan it belonged to the Giorgi family, a renowned and noble family with vast properties in Castello di Quercio, near Sesto Fiorentino, an area which was then countryside adjacent to the city where many noble families owned villas and grounds.
In the XIII century the head of the family was called Mandorlo from which the heraldic coat of arms is still today the hallmark of the hotel.