The unusual Stibbert museum: a fascinating
The Frederick Stibbert Centenary
Off the beaten tack, but very much worth the effort once you get there, the Stibbert Museum is a fascinating and truly original museum created by one of the many Englishman who came to live in Florence in the 19th century.
This year the Museum is celebrating his 100th anniversary by organising several events around the figure of his founder. The contents of museum are the result of Frederick Stibbert
’s passionate love of collecting (1838-1906), though there are so many things and such a variety of them that we could almost call it hoarding! In fact, although it is reknowned as a huge arms collection, a superficial tour is enough to convince the visitor that it is really far more.
Stibbert was fascinated and influenced by the infinite number of subjects that formed his great collections and these lay at the basis of much of his activity. He appears to have been a man with a wide variety of interests and went through several different phases during his lifetime, at one time even joining Garibaldi’s troups in the fight to unify Italy.
These multiple interests led to the creation of his most important collections, as well as some extremely original and unusual ones, like those of Islamic weapons and costumes or the splendid Chinese and Far Eastern costumes.
He furnished his huge 70 roomed house according to these various themes and left his wonderful creation to the City of Florence
on his death. The exhibits are thus based on subjects that so impassioned Stibbert and led to the realisation of his life’s dream, an essential factor in understanding this unusual collector; they range from suits of armour (including one worn by Stibbert for the 1877 procession), Gothic wooden sculptures, colourful costumes that once belonged to a Maharajah, china and glass. The Egyptian phase of his youth led him to buy splendid sarcofaghi for the little temple in the garden, while some of the finest costumes come from his fascination with the Far East.
Therefore try and visit this richly varied museum while you are staying in Florence. It may not have any Giottos
, but it certainly contains a great many surprises!
Via Stibbert 26
Hours: Mon-Tue-Wed 10-14
Closed on Thursdays