The historical origins of the restaurant

Source: Wikipedia

The restaurant Il Pennello lies in Florence, in the building of the ancient tavern of the painter Mariotto Albertinelli that, as Vasari wrote in “Lives of the most excellent painters, sculptors, and architects”,

Venendogli in odio le sofisticherie e gli stillamenti di cervello della pittura, et essendo spesso dalle lingue de’ pittori morso, come è continua usanza in loro, e per eredità mantenuta, si risolvette darsi a più bassa e meno faticosa e più allegra arte; et aperto una bellissima osteria fuor della porta San Gallo et al ponte Vecchio al Drago una taverna et osteria fece quella molti mesi.

This tavern was located near the Ponte Vecchio, but since the nearby Torre degli Amidei was the headquarters of the guards, it didn’t have many customers. Therefore it was moved outside the Porta San Gallo, over the city walls, and again the clientele was poor. Albertinelli was forced to move his restaurant into the city centre and the new location was Piazza San Martino, near the House of Dante and the Torre della Castagna, in a place left vacant by a failed shearer of wool.

The tavern had as clients Giuliano Bugiardini and Innocenzo da Imola, Albertinelli’s pupils , and Benvenuto Cellini, Michelangelo, Maso Manzuoli, Pontormo and Andrea del Sarto.

In 1886, Giuseppe Aiolli from Casentino opened a restaurant in the old tavern of Albertinelli and, to commemorate the famous painter who had been the owner, named it Il Pennello (“the brush”). In 1911, he built outside a small Loggia in 14th century style and appended a terracotta medallion portraying the artist.