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Curiosities of Florence- Per non dormire

Per non dormire (thanks for staying awake), is the motto of the Bartolini family. You can see this motto carved along the windows on the Palazzo Bartolini - Salimbeni in Via Porta Rossa. It depicts poppies tied together in bunches of three. The poppy motto dates to the 15th century when this family created an abundance of wealth and built the Palazzo that stands today.


The legend states that a member of the Bartolini family, a wool merchant, traveled to Venice with other members of the wool guild to check on a series of projects already in progress. During dinner with the Venetian merchants and other wool merchants, Bartolini successfully drugged his friends’ drinks with opium. One by one, they fell fast asleep. Eventually Bartolini was left along with the Venetian merchants in which he closed a number of contracts. Once he got back to Florence, the family became the one of the richest families in the whole city.


And so when they built their Palazzo overlooking Piazza Santa Trinita, they wanted to thank their fellow merchants by carving poppies and the phrase “per non dormire”. Thanks to those it was possible for the Bartolini family to increase their wealth.


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