Palazzo Strozzi is one of the most important examples of Florentine Renaissance architecture. The building works, commissioned by Filippo Strozzi, were started – on consultation with an astrologer – at dawn on 6th August 1489, under the sign of Leo. The identity of the architect who provided the original plan remains unknown: although both Benedetto da Maiano and Giuliano da Sangallo provided a model, the works were subsequently assigned to Simone del Pollaiolo, known as “il Cronaca”.
Filippo Strozzi died before the palace was completed, and so it was his children who took up residence there around 1505. Between 1533 and 1536 the cornice overlooking the square was put in place, but was never finished owing to the political misfortunes of the family, an enemy of Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici. After a long period during which the Strozzi family lived mainly in Rome, the palace was renovated by Prince Piero between 1886 and 1889. The building remained the property of the Strozzi family until 1937, when it was acquired by the Istituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni. Subsequent to substantial restoration works between 1938 and 1940, the building became an exhibition centre. Purchased by the State in 1998, it was given in concession to the Municipality of Florence and continued to be a cultural and exhibition centre.
The premises of the Scuola Normale are situated on the fifth floor and on the two mezzanine floors between the ground floor and the first floor. The spaces are occupied by offices, classrooms, the library and conference halls.