Florence, Italy — The bright lights of the Westin Excelsior hotel are reflected in the River Arno at night. The slightly larger section on the right originated as the Casa Rucellai in 1504 and later became the Hotel Italie. The smaller section on the left was a house that Napoleon’s younger sister, Caroline Bonaparte, purchased in 1833. She had it rebuilt by architect Giuseppe Martelli. In 1862, Giuseppe Augier turned it into a hotel, La Ville.
In 1912, Swiss hotelier Gerardo Kraft acquired both properties. They were closed down in 1925, combined and renovated, then reopened in 1927 as the 170-room Excelsior Italie. The property became the Westin Excelsior, Florence after a 1997 renovation.