Historical analysis regarding the origins and evolution of the building at via dei Bardi 34 is rather lacking, perhaps as a result of the ‘imposing’ proximity of the Palazzo Capponi to one side and the Palazzo Canigiani (ex Palazzo Larioni) on the other. Therefore an indirect approach is required to understand its development, examining the history of these adjacent structures so as to understand the consequential evolution of the building.
From the 12th Century the homes of the ancient dei Bardi family were located in the street that bears the family’s name, but in 1323, due to a law passed by the government of Florence known as the ‘Ordinamenti di Giustizia’ (‘Laws of Justice’) the family was permanently expelled from the city, with its attempts to re-enter the political landscape culminating in the provocation of a popular revolt in 1343.
Following this, a certain Ilarione de’ Bardi changed his family name to Larioni, and one of his descendants, Lorenzo Larioni, embarked on the construction of the palace ‘the old Palagio’ that then bore the name of the family. In via de’ Bardi, next to the church of Santa Lucia, (built around 1078), there was an hospital built in 1247 by the Compagnia del Bigallo, which the Larioni family bought in the early years of the 1400s from Messer Giovanni di Spinello Rustici, annexing it into the primary residence. Furthermore in 1428 Andrea and Ilarione da Lippaccio added a house identifiable at number 32 in via de’ Bardi, which was designated the kitchen, stables and stairwell. And it is precisely here, between the ‘added’ house and the Palazzo Capponi, that two smaller houses were located; the first was acquired by Ilarione in 1429, the second, bordering the property of Niccolo da Uzzano, was bought afterwards by Lorenzo di Ilarione (identified as being exactly at number 34, via de Bardi).
Land registry documents dating from between 1442 and 1465 suggest that the Larioni family possessed one large and two small homes on the via dei Bardi, and their bankruptcy of 1465 forced them to put them to auction. The two ‘small home’ were bought in 1469 by Piero di Carlo Canigiani, who united them into a single residence, whereas the ‘large house’ was bought by Giovanni di Antonio Canigiani.
Furthermore it appears that prior to 1465, Lorenzo di Ilarione had demolished the old ‘palagio’, the preceding hospital and the original house at number 32, and built the current Palazzo after presenting plans to the land registry in 1458l. The continuation of the Palazzo Larioni-Canigiani from the ancient nucleus east towards the church of S. Lucia was the result of a transformation in the 1800s.
In any case at the end of the 1400s the Palazzo must have been composed – as is confirmed by a fresco in the Palazzo Vecchio dating from the second half of the same century – of two separate nuclei: the principal structure and a lower part to its right, consisting possibly of just a ground and first floor, which according to Bucci corresponds to the location of a convent.
Therefore it seems that the Canigiani in 1465 purchased a Palazzo with annexed house, stating the intention of attempting to unite to integrate the two structures.
No trace remains of the two ‘small houses’ and for three centuries there is no further information about any construction between what today are the Palazzo Canigiani and the Palazzo Capponi. This leads us to believe that the building in question was certainly successively to the 19th century works, realized by Poggi, which renovated the edifices facing onto the Lungarno Torrigiani, also because from a typological perspective the structure discords with its neighbors