The most interesting Museums of Florence: Opificio delle Pietre DureMin. reading
The visit to the Museum of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence, literally meaning workshop of semi-precious stones, is the perfect choice for whoever has already seen the main museums and galleries of the city and is now looking for something peculiar and characteristic during his stay, away from the crowd.
The story of the Museum of the Opificio begins in the distant 1588, when it was only a dedicated workshop. It is in fact thanks to the Family of Medici, great art supporters sensitive to mosaics and hard stone carvings, that the Opificio was born and continued its activity till our days, when it became the only museum uniquely dedicated to this theme.
It is indeed an enriching and unique experience to visit this museum, where you can admire stone masterpieces resembling real paintings for how beautiful they are, going through a historical and didactic itinerary. At the centre of the works, between artisanal pieces designed for the middle class and precious artistic ornaments, stands out the use of the “commesso fiorentino”. But what is it exactly? To explain it in few words, the commesso fiorentino is nothing but the mosaic practice that uses the natural colours of the stones, carving them into specific shapes and pulling them together to create the desired patterns. Pure beauty!
Historically talking, the Opificio saw good and bad moments, reaching a definitive financial crisis after Italy’s Unification, when it eventually lost the support from the court. Nevertheless, it obtained its importance as institution, and nowadays, in its main location in via degli Alfani, you can find not only the museum, but also its restoration workshops and the famous school for restorers (Scuola di Alta Formazione e di Studio SAFS), directly sustained by the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo. Peculiar fact about this school is above all its prestige at a national and international level, offering highly selective degree courses of the duration of five years, to which very few students can have access to, in order to learn how to practically restore work pieces on real international commissions.
It is good to know that the activity of the Opificio is not only supported by the Ministry, but also from a private association formed by this florentine institution’s lovers, that from 2005 is giving continuous and consistent support to its activities and its promulgation: Gli Amici dell’Opificio. Anybody can join, establishing a special relationship with the Opificio, that will allow you to have access to private tours to the exhibitions, to participate to conferences and several events of the sector, and to get exceptional discounts on buying the masterpieces produced at the Opificio.
Here at Il Guelfo Bianco we had the honour to meet two tour guides of excellence on our visit at the museum: Mrs Annalisa Innocenti, Supervisor from Amici dell’Opificio, and Sandra Rossi, Director of the museum of the Opificio. They helped us throughout our visit, giving us an amazing and customised experience, between curiosities and hidden facts about this place, unique in the world!
The Museum of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, only 2 minutes away from our hotel in Florence, is the perfect destination for those who stay at Hotel Il Guelfo Bianco. Moreover, for groups, it is possible to ask the hotel to arrange special guided tours, in order to have direct contact with the main representatives of the museum and possible access to ongoing workshops: an exclusive and exciting experience only for you!
For any information, feel free to ask our team at the front desk or to write us at [email protected]
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