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Sillabe for Museums

Since 1998, all of Sillabe’s products have been available in the bookshops of Florence’s state-run museums. In addition to sales over the Internet and at bookstores in both Italy and abroad, these museum bookshops are a further distribution space for the publishing house. The wide selection of books and art stationary accompanies the visitor along different itineraries within each museum or gallery – from general catalogues to monographs, critical essays to postcards, children’s books to brochures.

In Florence:

Uffizi Gallery
Piazzale degli Uffizi

 

Accessible to the disabled
Closed: Monday; 1 January, 1 May, 25 December

Cosimo I assigned Giorgio Vasari the task of bringing all the Florentine magistrature under a single roof. The result has been known ever since as gli Uffizi (literally, the Offices). 
The project was begun in 1560; five years later Vasari would create the passageway joining the new court residence of Pitti Palace with Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of government. However, the new horseshoe-shaped Uffizi, encompassing the Romanesque Church of San Pier Scheraggio and the Mint Offices, would not be inaugurated until 1580, the year Cosimo and Vasari both died. The Medici's treasured art collection was displayed there in the gallery designed by Bernardo Buontalenti. Over the centuries, the collection grew and in the late 18th century the works were rearranged according to illuminist criteria. The following century witnessed the Uffizi’s rise to its current status as one of the world's most important and renowned picture galleries.

Bargello National Museum
Via del Proconsolo, 4

 

Accessible to the disabled
Closed: Second and fourth Monday of each month; first, third and fifth Sunday of each month; 1 January, 1 May, 25 December

The building housing the museum was built in the late 13th century as the seat of the city official, the Capitano del Popolo, to then pass over to the Podestà in 1261. Expanded in the 14th century, the building was linked to civil affairs and the administration of justice for many centuries. Between 1502 and 1574 it was the seat of the judiciary, the Giudici della Ruota, while with the advent of the Capitano di Piazza, named Bargello, the building was to enter the darkest period of its history. It was, in fact, transformed into a prison. Only in the mid-19th century did the slow recovery of the building begin, the results of which can be admired today. In 1865, it was established as a National Museum. Its collections grew progressively over the following century owing in part to confiscation of ecclesiastical holdings. Nowadays, it houses one of Florence's largest collection of sculptures and applied arts.

Galleria dell'Accademia
via Ricasoli 58-60

 

Accessible to the disabled
Closed: Monday; 1 January, 1 May, 25 December

It was the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Pietro Leopoldo, who had the friary of San Matteo and the convent of San Niccolò di Cafaggio refurbished to house the gallery so students of the adjoining Accademia delle Belle Arti could study the greatest works of past times. The subsequent suppression of religious institutes in 1785 and again in 1808 greatly enriched the gallery's original holdings, for the most part made up of Medici collections. Michelangelo's world-renowned David arrived in 1873, moved here from Piazza della Signoria in order to better conserve it. Since then, the fame of the gallery has been inextricably tied to this monumental work, which, together with other masterpieces by Michelangelo, constitutes the very heart of this extraordinary and unique gallery. Recently, the treasured collection of musical instruments from the Luigi Cherubini Conservatory of Music has been added to the collections of the Accademia, greatly enhancing its holdings.

Museum of San Marco
Piazza San Marco, 3

 

Accessible to the disabled
Closed: Second and fourth Monday of each month; first, third and fifth Sunday of each month; 1 January, 1 May, 25 December

The church and friary of San Marco, built in the 13th century, were home to Sylvestrine monks until, by will of the Medicis, the complex was wholly restructured by Michelozzo between 1436 and 1446 and turned over to the reformed Dominicans from Fiesole. Thus, it was destined to host the renowned Black friars, Girolamo Savonarola, Beato Angelico and Fra Bartolomeo, amongst others. The museum is located in the oldest part of the friary, where age-old Dominican memories have been preserved intact within harmoniously proportioned settings, rendered all the more evocative by the masterpieces of painting that give expression to the spiritual fervour of its occupants.

Museo dell'Opificio delle Pietre Dure

 

Accessible to the disabled
Closed:Sunday and holidays; 1 January, 1 May, 25 December

In 1588, Grand Duke Ferdinando I founded the workshop then called Galleria dei Lavori, which specialised in the production of commessi, that is, precious and semi-precious stone mosaics made by cutting the stones into various shapes and piecing them together so closely that the joints were barely visible. Originally, some areas of the Uffizi were given over to the work of these artisans. Then, in the late 18th century, Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo of Lorraine had the workshop moved to an area of the convent of San Niccolò di Cafaggio, thereby giving birth to today's Museo dell'Opificio delle Pietre Dure.

National Archaeological Museum
Via della Colonna, 38

 

Accessible to the disabled
Closed: Monday mornings; 1 January, 1 May, 25 December

Founded in 1870 by King Vittorio Emanuele II during the period that Florence served as Italy's capital, the museum was originally housed in the convent school of Foligno, on Via Faenza. Then in 1881, it was transferred to Palazzo della Crocetta, built in 1619–1620 by Giulio Parigi for Maria Maddalena de' Medici, Grand Duke Cosimo II's sister. The Etruscan Museum that came to supplement the pre-existing Egyptian Museum (1855) absorbed the Medici and Lorraine classical art collections, which included extraordinary Etruscan, Greek and Roman works of art. Over the years, the museum has enhanced its already rich holdings with works from other museums (the Uffizi, for instance), as well as from archaeological digs, bequests and select acquisitions. 
Particularly noteworthy are its extensive Etruscan and Egyptian sections, Italy's second largest after the Egyptian Museum in Turin.

Museo delle Cappelle Medicee
Piazza Madonna degli Aldobrandini, 6

 

Accessible to the disabled
Closed: First, third and fifth Monday of each month; second and fourth Sunday of each month; 1 January, 1 May, 25 December

The Museum of the Medici Chapels was opened to the public in 1913 upon completion of the entranceway independent of the Basilica of San Lorenzo. This extraordinary monument complex includes the vaulted crypt of the Medici Grand Dukes, the overlying opulent mausoleum of the Chapel of Princes and the New Sacristy, for which Michelangelo served as both architect and sculptor. The Chapel of the Princes was conceived by Cosimo I and promoted by his son Ferdinando I, who expressly held a contest for the commission, won by Matteo Nigetti. The work’s progress was however extremely slow and wasteful of both monetary and human resources and it seemed to all that the work would never be completed. In fact, the dome was finally decorated by the neo-classical painter Pietro Benvenuti (1828–1837), the high altar was added just before World War II and the floor was completed only in 1962. The history of the New Sacristy is also a tortured one, though limited to the 16th century; upon commission of Pope Leo X and his cousin, Giulio de’ Medici, in 1520 Michelangelo began designing the funeral chapel. Finally, it was Vasari and Ammannati who, by will of Cosimo I, would determine the Sacristy’s final arrangement.

Palatine Gallery and Royal Apartments
Palazzo Pitti, Piazza Pitti

 

Accessible to the disabled
Closed: Monday; 1 January, 1 May, 25 December

In the mid-15th century, Luca Pitti commissioned construction of the original core of Pitti Palace. Its putative architect, Brunelleschi, created a compact structure with a double tier of seven windows and three portals. A century later, the building was purchased by Cosimo I de' Medici, who established the new court residence there and entrusted Bartolomeo Ammannati with expanding it. Thus, between 1528 and 1570 the courtyard was added, together with the main balcony overlooking the Boboli Gardens. Its expansion in the lengthwise direction continued during the 17th century, first with Giulio Parigi and then his son, Alfonso. The two rondos and Palazzina della Meridiana building were added during the reign of the Lorraines who succeeded the heirless Medicis in 1737. Then, when Florence became capital of the Kingdom of Italy (1865–1871), Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoy set up court precisely at Pitti Palace.

Modern Art Gallery
Palazzo Pitti, Piazza Pitti

 

Accessible to the disabled
Closed: First, third and fifth Monday of each month; second and fourth Sunday of each month; 1 January, 1 May, 25 December

The Modern Art Gallery is located in thirty rooms on the second floor of Pitti Palace and contains works from the period of Pietro Leopoldo of Lorraine to World War I. The rooms were decorated in the 19th century during the last Lorraine Grand Dukes, Ferdinando III and Leopoldo II.

Museo degli Argenti
Palazzo Pitti, Piazza Pitti

 

Accessible to the disabled
Closed: First and last Monday of each month; 1 January, 1 May, 25 December

The Museo degli Argenti is located on the ground floor of Pitti Palace, in what was once the summer residence of the Medici Grand Dukes. The history of the museum began in the mid-19th century, when the room frescoed by Giovanni da San Giovanni was used to store the treasures of the bishop-princes of Salzburg. By century’s end, porcelains were exhibited, then the jewels of the Electress Palatine; in the 1920s, it was the furniture, precious stone vases, cameos and carvings from the Uffizi, and finally the works in ivory and amber transferred there from the Bargello.

Boboli Gardens
Palazzo Pitti, Piazza Pitti

 

Accessible to the disabled
Closed: First and last Monday of each month; 1 January, 1 May, 25 December

The original core of the world-famous Boboli Gardens, as we know them today, dates back to the 16th century when the wife of Duke Cosimo I, Eleonora di Toledo, acquired the hilly area behind the Pitti family villa (hence its name). This was thus united to the great expanse of land bordered by the ramparts that Cosimo I had built during the war against Siena (1546–1548) and the 13th-century wall, its Roman Gate and the houses on Via Romana. Already during the late Middle Ages, this area had been known as boboli, a toponym used at the time to indicate wooded areas. The original project was devised by Niccolò Pericoli, known as il Tribolo, the Duke’s favoured artist and creator of the Medici gardens in Villa Castello.

Costume Gallery
Palazzo Pitti, Piazza Pitti

 

Accessible to the disabled
Closed: First and last Monday of each month; second and fourth Sunday of each month; 1 January, 1 May, 25 December

Established in 1983, the Costume Gallery is located in the elegant Meridian Building, annexed to the south of Pitti Palace, facing the Boboli Gardens. Gaspare Maria Paoiletti began its construction in 1776 and it was completed approximately a half century later by Pasquale Poccianti. A comfortable and secluded villa, it was chosen as a residence by all the reigning houses, from the Lorraines to the Savoys, including the French interregnum. The gallery is currently the only museum in Italy devoted to the history of fashion and has a patrimony of more than 6,000 pieces. A restoration laboratory and a storage department are connected to the museum spaces.

For bookings and information contact Firenze Musei
Tel. 055.294883, Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

 

In Siena:

Museo dell’Opera 
Piazza Duomo 8

 

Closed: 1 January, 25 December

The Museo dell’Opera, established in 1869, is located in a few spaces that were once part of the first three bays of the right nave in the so-called “Duomo Nuovo” whose construction, begun in 1339, was interrupted after the Black Plague of 1348.
The Museum is above all famous for its extraordinary collection of marble sculptures portraying sibyls, prophets and philosophers of Antiquity, executed by Giovanni Pisano between 1285 and 1297, the stunning Majesty by Duccio di Buoninsegna, a masterpiece of Senense art, as well as numerous works by important artists such as Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Taddeo di Bartolo, Sano di Pietro, Matteo di Giovanni and Domenico Beccafumi. Its collection of wooden sculptures and works in gold and silver is also noteworthy.

 

Duomo
Piazza Duomo 8

 

Closed: 1 January, 25 December

The Duomo of Siena, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin in Heaven, is located at the centre of the square that bears the same name. It has an extraordinary façade in multicoloured marble that together with the white and green bands on the sides epitomises the linear and colour style of Senese gothic art. 
The Duomo is above all characterised for the evocative and grandiose decorations inside, where all the braches of figurative art are superbly represented. Nicola Pisano, Duccio di Buoninsegna, Antonio Federighi, Donatello, Pintoricchio, Domenico Beccafumi, Michelangelo and Bernini are but a few of the artists who worked in the Cathedral, thus bearing witness to the proliferation of decorative art in Siena. 
What makes the Cathedral of Siena even more unique is the extraordinary and magnificent pavement decoration in marble commesso mosaic.

Baptistery
Piazza Duomo 8

 

Closed: 1 January, 25 December

The Baptistery, born as a parish church, was built between 1316 and 1325 by Camaino di Crescentino, the father of Tino di Camaino. The structure extends under the final bays of the Church’s Choir, and is characterised by a very tall gothic façade begun in 1355 by Domenico d'Agostino but left unfinished when the work was interrupted in 1382.
The inside, divided into three naves with an ogival vault, is an admirable example of Senese fifteenth-century art. Moreover, located inside in a central position is the Baptisim Font, an extraordinary work in marble, bronze and enamel made between 1417 and 1431 by the most important sculptors of the time: Giovanni di Turino, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello, Jacopo della Quercia.
The Crypt is an exceptional thirteenth-century space that was discovered in 2000, after it had been forgotten for over seven centuries. Inside there is a grandiose painting cycle dated to between 1270 and 1280, with its original colours.