The history of The Westin Excelsior, Florence dates back to the 13th century when the religious order of the Umiliati settled here in 1251 and began to build a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and All Saints. In 1278 the Umiliati Friars, who had occupied the Convent Ognissanti for 22 years, began the construction of a “borgo” around the Piazza Ognissanti—a sort of picturesque village with small council houses.
The noble Boccaccio family was one of the original families to live on the site where the hotel now stands. That property later transferred to the Gondi family in 1607, and then to Londomez, who began to use it as a hotel. In 1884 the building was purchased by Anton Karl Autenrieth, whose heirs sold it in 1924 to the Swiss hotelier Gerardo Kraft.
The adjacent property originated as the Casa Rucellai in 1504, and was sold to Portinari family in 1627. It later became the Hotel Italie. In 1833, Carolina Bonaparte, sister of the great Napoleon and wife of Gioacchino Murat, the former King of Naples, purchased the house next door to Hotel Italie. Bonaparte entrusted the engineer Giuseppe Martelli with the reconstruction of the building. Martelli’s design has been preserved to this very day. After the death of Carolina Bonaparte, the building was sold, and eventually became the property of hotelier Giuseppe Augier in 1862.
In 1912, Mr. Gerardo Kraft obtained the property of the two contiguous hotels, La Ville and Hotel Italie. Both were closed down for renovations in 1925 and reopened in 1927 as the 170-room Excelsior Italie.
After another historic renovation, The Excelsior Italie became The Westin Excelsior, Florence in 1997. All suites and meeting venues were later renovated in 2009 to update their style and layout while preserving their historical integrity.