Palace of devils and witches

Palazzo dei Diavoli (Palace of Devils) in Florence is a street in the Isolotto district. It took on this name only in the 1930s. In ancient times it was called Via della Querce from the Mannelli Palace of the same name, built by rich merchants active in trade since the early 15th century.

Where does its name come from? The “Palazzo dei Diavoli” is a thirteenth-century tower house built in sandstone, to which other residential structures were added in the fourteenth century. According to some, the building was also the residence of the 16th century Florentine painter Agnolo di Cosimo di Mariano, better known as Bronzino.

Several legends are told about the origins of the name, one of which refers to the Alberti family, owner of the building, of the “Ghibelline” party, the Ghibellines in fact, were considered as “devils”.

But other stories are also linked to other beliefs: it is said that the witches gathered inside, or that the palace was inhabited by dark presences.

And that the lack of decorations in the architecture of the palace was due to the devil who induced the construction to be completed in a single night, demanding the owner’s soul in exchange.

According to some scholars, it is probable that the plan of the early-fourteenth-century Palagio was that of a “lord’s house”,  a building characterized by a surrounding wall, which served as a retaining wall inside which there were the house and the garden, but despite the presence of typical elements of military construction… the “lord’s houses” were not used for military purposes.

Perhaps the most reliable hypothesis, however, is this: the road, in its final stretch, had a fork in the road with a Tabernacle which forced one to choose which road to take, the choice was either with God or with the devil.