MUSEO Dell'opificio delle pietre dure
Via degli Alfani, 78
The Museum annexed to the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, today a modern centre specialising in restoration, is a direct subsidiary of the Court Manufactory, officially founded in 1588 by Ferdinando I de ‘Medici, where the processing of semi-precious stones took place.
The physiognomy of the Museum, founded in 1882, does not correspond to a precise collecting plan, but is rather a reflection of the life and events of the centuries-old production activity. The most prestigious creations, often given as gifts by the Florentine Grand Dukes, are preserved in palaces and museums throughout Europe, while in the production workshops of the museum there are still unfinished works, or the result of subsequent modifications and dismantling, and what survived the nineteenth-century dispersion, which ended in 1882 with the musealisation of the collection. However, the collection, which includes specimens of great charm and refinement, is sufficient to outline the history of the manufactory over three centuries. There is also a major reserve of ancient marbles and semi-precious stones.
In 1995, the Museum was renovated, based on a project by Adolfo Natalini. The reorganisation of the collection, curated by Anna Maria Giusti, follows a thematic criterion: the production of the Medici and Lorraine Grand. The Ducal period is documented in the rooms obtained from the hall, while the productions of the post-unification period are in the nineteenth-century rooms. The mezzanine floor of the hall is dedicated to processing techniques: from the rich stone samples to the work benches, the tools, up to the explanatory exemplification of some phases of inlay and carving production. In this way, it is possible to retrace the complete process, from conception to the finished work, and discover the most intimate mechanisms of a fascinating episode in Florentine artistic history.