During my study here in Florence I have been fortunate enough to explore the various museums and historical monuments located around the city. One particular museum that is a must-see for the students of the LDM Jewelry Design Department is the Pitti-Palace, as it holds the Medician jewels in its Museo degli Argenti.
The palace is located about fifteen-minutes, walking distance, from the Lorenzo de’ Medici institute and is one of Florence’s largest architectural monuments.
The palace was originally built in 1457 for the Pitti family but was then sold to the Medici in 1549 and became the family’s primary residence. Several years later, the palace was enlarged and altered to what it looks like today. Upon entrance, lies a large open courtyard surrounded by two lateral wings that hold several important museums.
The exterior of the building is constructed of heavy, rustic stone blocks but as you enter the palace, each room is filled with innovative Renaissance architecture and intricate paintings. As I began my tour of the palace, I was in awe. It is difficult to fathom that this enormous palace was once somebody’s home!
The wings of the palace hold five different museums and as you venture to the back of the building, you will find the famous Boboli gardens. One particular museum that I spent most of my time in was the Museo degli Argenti, it’s located in the left wing of the palace.
The museum houses an extraordinarily rich collection of precious objects, many of which were owned by members of the Medici family, whom brought the art of jewelry making to Florence. The works of art showcased contain a wide variety of semi precious stones, gems, cameos, silver, carpets, clocks, and more!
As I gazed around the silver museum, I found myself fixated on the extensive jewelry collection, starting with the jewels of Anna Maria Luisa de Medici, as well as the wide collection of more contemporary jewels on display that have been donated from varied sources.
Two pieces in particular that caught my attention: Cartier’s diamond and amethyst tiara by Cartier and the modern gold ‘blouse’ of lace-work made entirely of gold, accompanied by a gold net-like headpiece (see above.) Those two pieces, as well as many other beautiful gems, were unlike anything I have ever seen.
I really enjoyed the mix of the Renaissance pieces once owned by the Medici family as well as the more contemporary works of art showcased. It was so interesting to see the original jewelry pieces from the family who brought jewelry making to Florence and gave life to such an appreciated work of art. However, no matter what era the pieces originated from, each work was extraordinary and unique. Photos can’t do them justice. Without a doubt, there was not a dull piece found in the entire exhibit.
The Museo degli Argenti will bewilder those who appreciate all types of artisanship and meticulously decorative work, especially students studying any type of art, design – especially jewelry design. As LdM students learn how to construct their own hand-made pieces, they are really fortunate to have such inspiration from places in Florence like Palazzo Pitti’s Museo degli Argenti. Students are able to learn the history behind the pieces that originated from the famous dynasties that once ruled Tuscany, as well as use these pieces as inspiration when crafting their own works of art.
If you have yet to visit the Pitti Palace, I would highly recommend making this a priority. For only €10 you can visit the silver museum, as well as several other incredible museums held throughout the Pitti Palace.
Caroline Benson attends The University of Georgia where she majors in Digital Marketing. Her interest in jewelry and accessories developed at a young age through her work at a family-owned jewelry business based out of Rhode Island. Caroline has developed the company’s e-commerce presence and currently manages all of their marketing efforts. Having been exposed to this industry for several years, she cannot wait to learn all about the handmade jewelry and the history behind it all right here in Florence! Caroline wishes to pursue a career in e-commerce after graduation.