A visit at the Stibbert Museum!
The Stibbert Museum is probably one of the most eccentric museums in Florence, this may have something to do with the fact that its founder was a rather excentric man himself.
Frederick Stibbert was born in 1838 in Florence from an italian mother and english father, but he was sent to study in England as a young boy. He remained very attached to its hometown though, and when he came of age and came back to Italy he started administering his inherited greath wealth, slowly transforming his florentine house in a museum.
He had many interests and he spent several years travelling Europe making contacts with antiques dealers. He started collecting costumes, tapestries, furniture, music instruments, lithurgical object and much more. Today the collection amounts to about 50.000 items.
He also collected paintings, most of them portraits in costumes from the XVI to XVII century acquired because of his interest in the costumes.
Among the paintings there are notable examples such as a Madonna by Botticelli, two saints by Carlo Crivelli, two paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Younger, portraits depicting the Medici by Suttermans and one of Francesco I by Bronzino and two biblical scenes by Luca Giordano.
However, the museum is famous mostly for the vast collection of arms and armours from Europe, Persia, India, Islam and Japan, ranging from the XV to the XVII century. The collection of Japanese arms is particularly remarkable and constitutes the largest collection of this kind outside of Japan.
As his collection grew, Frederick Stibbert increased the spaces of his dwelling adding more rooms and transforming the garden according to a project by Giuseppe Poggi.
When he died in 1906 he left the museum to the municipality of Florence, that three years later opened it to the public.
The museum is really worth a visit, especially now that you can add to the tour the new temporary exhibition and access the renovated Japanese halls.
Then, after the visit, we suggest you take a pleasant stroll in the garden. You'll find that the excentricities are not just confined inside the museum halls...when you will find yourself in front of the Egyptian Temple on the shore of a little lake you will know what we're talking about!
Via Federigo Stibbert 26
Ticket: 8 euro
(Closed on Thursday)
The entrance to the garden is free and the opening hours are as follows:
April to October 8AM – 7PM
November to March 8AM – 5PM
Directions: bus n. 4 from train station Firenze SMN, bus stop Gioia.