Jeff Koons Brings the Shine Back to Florence

By Kamin Mohammadi

3 years ago

The Italian city is experiencing a second renaissance

Jeff Koons’ Shine at Palazzo Strozzi places the city back at the top of the artistic tree, says Kamin Mohammadi.

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Jeff Koons Brings the Shine Back to Florence

One of the world’s hottest destinations for 2022, Florence has reclaimed its art crown after the past 18 months of lockdowns and caution. And there is no bigger jewel in Florence’s crown right now than the epoch-making exhibition by renowned American artist, Jeff Koons. Entitled Shine, this exhibition does indeed bring the shine back to the Renaissance city, attracting visitors to the Palazzo Strozzi museum as not seen since the Before Times.

In keeping with this extraordinary opening, the Hotel Savoy – a jewel in the crown of the Rocco Forte Hotel group – is offering an exclusive Jeff Koons Package until the end of January 2022. Not only will guests enjoy the refined elegance of the newly refurbished Savoy right in the heart of the centro storico, but the deal includes tickets to the exhibition, with a tour by one of the Strozzi’s trained art guides who make a visit to this very special exhibition more special still. The hotel can even arrange a private after-hours guided visit for that extra touch of magic.

Jeff Koons flowers artwork, Palazzo Strozzi

A short stroll from the Palazzo Strozzi, the Hotel Savoy overlooks the Piazza della Repubblica on one side, and the dome of the Duomo on the other. A corner suite lets you watch the nightly passeggiata from one window while enjoying the sunset as it bounces off the dome and tower of the Duomo from the other. There is hardly an experience more delicious after months of being confined to quarters.

The hotel was extensively refurbished in 2018 by design maven Olga Polizzi who reimagined its interiors with the help of some of Florence’s best artisans, led by the famous Florentine fashion house Pucci, which produced an exclusive silk scarf for the Savoy, its motif appearing throughout the décor. The hotel’s rooms were reduced from 102 to 80, allowing the remaining rooms to become more spacious, for more suites, for the feeling of spacious luxury to expand. Colours are fresh and calming, each piece is handpicked and there are collections of classic books in each room to encourage slow living.

Palazzo Strozzi


Across the piazza, passers-by pause to take in Jeff Koons’ giant ‘balloon’ monkey glimmering in the middle of the Palazzo Strozzi’s Renaissance courtyard. Featuring 33 works of art, this exhibition is the first 20 years for Jeff Koons in Italy, and it was designed by the artist himself. It took more than three weeks to set up and is unusual in using all of the Strozzi’s galleries, not just one section, and the constant interplay between the Renaissance architecture and Koons’ modern works add extra layers of meaning.

Focusing on the lustrous surfaces that abound through Koons’ work, the exhibition invites the viewer to see himself reflected in the objects even as they remind us of the splendour of ‘ordinary’ objects and ask us to consider the meaning of ‘being’ and ‘appearing’. Featuring shiny metal balloon animals and inflatable toys all rendered in stainless steel, there are also works from the 1970s, a reminder that Jeff Koons was one of the first artists to glorify everyday items by separating them from their context and displaying them as precious pieces in themselves. The Rabbit – a monumental work in steel – set the record for the most expensive artwork at auction when it sold at Christie’s in New York for $91.1 million in 2019.

Jeff Koons painting, Palazzo Strozzi

Jeff Koons’ Shine asks us to think again about our relationship to ordinariness, and invites us into the artist’s vivid world of joy. There could be no better way for Florence to retake her art crown after the horrors of the pandemic, and the combination of this exuberant exhibition with a stay at the essentially Florentine – yet contemporary – Hotel Savoy, is a combination that is, truly, dazzling.


The Jeff Koons package is available at Hotel Savoy until 29 January 2022. Rates start at €470 + VAT per room per night in a Classic Room. Click here to book or call +39 06 32 888 930; [email protected]

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