Tucked around a far corner of the upper level in the Galleria degli Argenti (The Silver Museum) of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence is an important collection of contemporary jewelry. I take my jewelry design students there every term to see this varied collection in 3 rooms, along with the antique collection of Medici treasures. If timing is lucky there is usually a very well-curated temporary exhibition on the ground floor such as the current The Kremlin Treasury (through September 11, 2011), or recent exhibitions such as Vinum Nostrum, and retrospectives of Italian jewelers Bruno Martinazzi and Fausto Maria Franchi. The contemporary collection includes works by these and others such as Jacqueline Ryan, Giovanni Corvaja, Stefano Marchetti, and many more. (See my previous blog on Stefano Marchetti in Vicenza.) On the ground floor, be sure not to miss the amazingly intricate and curious turned ivory vase collection; these German-Italian follies are perhaps my favorite part of this museum collection. Also of note are the miniature mosaics in the jewelry section.
The Galleria degli Argenti is located in the Summer Apartments on the ground floor and on the mezzanine floor of the Pitti Palace. The Granduke Ferdinando I made these rooms decorated in 1635, on the occasion of his wedding with Vittoria della Rovere.
The Museum houses the important Medici’s Treasure: the semi precious stone vases of Lorenzo the Magnificent, the cameos of Cosimo I, the rock crystal objects of Francesco I, the ambers of Maria Maddalena d’Austria, the wonderful ivory vases of Mattia de Medici and the famous jewels collection belonged to Anna Maria Luisa, the last member of the Medici Family. The Museum is named after the silvers of the Salzburg Treasure, belonged to the Bishops of Salzburg and brought to Florence by Ferdinand III of Lorena in 1815.
The Museum also houses an important collection of jewels made between the 17th and the 20th century by the most important Italian and European workshops. An important new section devoted to the Contemporary Jewellery has recently been opened to testify the vitality of this historical Museum. A new setting houses the Japanese and Chinese Medici’s porcelain collection, started from the Medici Family in the 15th century: in the same room is now showed another important collection, given to the Museum by the Scalabrino Family, including Japanese and Chinese porcelains and some European maiolicas.
On the mezzanine floor of the museum it is possible to visit an extraordinary collection of miniature portraits, executed between the mid-sixteenth and the twentieth century, illustrating the principal schools of production: French, English, Italian, German, Austrian and American.
Museum Info (note the typical overly-complicated Italian schedule, sometimes subject to change!):
Daily opening hours
8.15 – 16.30 (November – February)
8.15 – 17.30 (March)
8.15 – 18.30 (April, May, September and October)
8.15 – 17.30 (in the month of October when Daylight Saving Time ends)
8.15 – 18.50 (June – August)
Entry is permitted up to half an hour before closing time.
Closed on the 1st and the last Monday of each month, New Year’s Day, May 1st and Christmas Day.
Full Price: € 6,00 (More during temporary special exhibitions.)
Reduced: € 3,00
For the Il tesoro del Cremlino exhibition, the ticket prices will be € 9,00 (full price) and € 4,50 (reduced price).
Ticket valid also for the Costume Gallery, the Porcelain museum, the Boboli Gardens and the Bardini Gardens.
For more info, this website includes Palazzo Pitti: www.gallerieuffizimostre.it