Palazzo Sforza Almeni, the Museo de’ Medici in Florence

Opened in June of 2019

Museo de ‘Medici is the first museum entirely dedicated to the Medici Dynasty, from the Renaissance of Lorenzo the Magnificent to the baroque style of Gian Gastone, the last Grand Duke of Tuscany. The museum is housed in the sixteenth century palace designed by Ammannati and Vasari for Sforza Almeni, the secret servant of Cosimo I.

Palazzo Sforza Almeni is a 16th-century palace, which is particularly known for the ceiling frescoes by Giorgio Vasari in its so-called Vasari Hall. Located in the heart of Florence, the palace is home to live music performances, as well as artist ateliers in the cellars, and a restaurant on the ground floor.

Built for Piero d’Antonio Taddei, the palace was confiscated by Cosimo di Medici I because of the Taddei family’s opposition to the Medici regime. Duke di Medici granted the palazzo to his cupbearer, Sforza Almeni, who commissioned the paintings by Cristoforo Gherardi and Giorgio Vasari.

The Florentine museum develops on the noble floor of an ancient palace that was confiscated by the Taddei family in the mid-sixteenth century by Cosimo I de ‘Medici to be donated to the secret counselor Sforza Almeni . Not only did Cosimo I and Eleonora of Toledo walk in these rooms, but also artists such as Bartolomeo Ammannati and Giorgio Vasari , who were commissioned to decorate the palace by Sforza Almeni who, after having received so much wealth from the Grand Duke, was tragically strangled by them!

The museum tells the story of the dynasty through thematic rooms, temporary exhibitions, events and a specialized bookshop.
The first thematic room is dedicated to genealogy, it is a true portrait of the Medici family narrated through an evocative holographic cinema.

From the family to the territory, the room that follows tells the birth of the grand duchy, the Medici villas, the fleet of the Knights of Santo Stefano and a large diorama illustrates the famous battle of Anghiari : the battle that saved the Renaissance. In return, the museum continues in a large room dedicated to artistic patronage, a peculiar feature of the dynasty.

In the room, in addition to the virtual painting gallery and a very precious collection of original coins from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century and historical engravings of the Grand Dukes, the interactive installation is particularly interesting allowing you to listen to the music that accompanied the life of the Medici from before Florentine invention of the Opera to that of the piano by Bartolomeo Cristofori.

The following room is instead dedicated to the costume: the Medici princesses were undisputed arbiters of taste! In the room it is possible to admire, among other wonders, also some statues for banquets really melted in sugar and the cooking recipes of Caterina de ‘Medici.

The last large room is dedicated to science. The Medici founded the first scientific academy in the world and were the most convinced supporters of Galileo Galilei. In the room there is a historical collection of stuffed animals , a collection of minerals and stills related to alchemy, a model of the telescope with which Galilei discovered the Medici planets and even an original document by the pope who condemned the Pisan astronomer.

Jewel of the museum, the small room previously used as a palatine chapel by Sforza Almeni which still retains a ceiling with an extraordinary fresco of the sixteenth century.

Finally, the “treasure room” where it is possible to admire the most faithful three-dimensional reconstruction in the world of the grand-ducal crown lost over the centuries. The hall was entirely frescoed in the 18th century.

Before leaving, a wine cellar where you can learn about and buy the favorite wines of the Medici, protected by the specific Call issued by Cosimo III as early as 1716.

The building now houses an art center run by L’Isle Saint Louis that welcomes emerging artists, as well as periodically organizing events and having an in-house restaurant.

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