PALAZZO DAVANZATI MUSEUM: WHAT TO SEE
Seven centuries of history, 2000 square metres of floor space, 450 works (plus some 2000 lace works) spread over three floors. These are the numbers of the Palazzo Davanzati museum, which is an integral part of the Bargello Museums group.
It is one of the oldest and best preserved medieval buildings in the city of Florence. It is a place full of charm and allows visitors to immerse themselves in the ambience of an ancient Florentine residence.
Davanzati Palace Museum
The museum of Palazzo Davanzati was built at the behest of the Davizzi family in the first half of the 14th century and passed to the Davanzati family in 1558.
This building, which must be included among Florence’s must-see museums, marks the transition from medieval house to merchant’s house, in a vertical development on four levels, plus the ground floor.
Art dealer and antiquarian Elia Volpi, in the early 20th century, restored the Palazzo to its original appearance, transforming it into a representation of the typical Florentine house of the Renaissance era. This project also convinced Luciano Berti who, in 1956, opened a museum in this building, furnishing it with objects from the Florentine collections, later enriched with purchases and donations.
Today, the museum in Palazzo Davanzati keeps faith with the original idea and presents a collection of works that give those who enter its rooms the charm of a museum of bygone days. All enriched by temporary loans from the collections and deposits of the Bargello National Museum.
Besides the Uffizi and Michelangelo’s David, there is much more and the museum of Palazzo Davanzati proves it!
WHAT TO SEE AT THE PALAZZO DAVANZATI MUSEUM: THE WORKS
Inside the famous rooms of Palazzo Davanzati, from the Sala dei Pappagalli to the Camera dei Pavoni and the room with stories from the medieval legend of the Castellana di Vergi, alongside works of art by Antonio Rossellino, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Maestro di Serumido, Jacopo del Sellaio and Mariotto di Nardo, on the first floor are some important works and furnishings from the 14th and 15th centuries, on the second floor works and furnishings from the 16th to the 18th century, while on the third floor there is a room dedicated to lace and embroidery, a room dedicated to 15th-century Florentine art and the fascinating kitchen.
In the Camera delle Impannate one can admire the Trionfi, taken from the poem by Francesco Petrarch and painted by Giovanni di Ser Giovanni, known as Lo Scheggia, Masaccio’s younger brother.
The four paintings on a curved panel, made around the middle of the 15th century and about whose use scholars continue to wonder, have been placed (together with other works by the same author) at a height that allows them to be admired at their best.
The textile masterpiece from the 14th century has recently returned to the public after more than 30 years and can be admired and understood thanks to a video, designed for young visitors to the museum, which illustrates the significance of the embroidered scenes.
After careful restoration, the beautiful Armoury, dating back to 1530, has also recently become visible to the public. It is a rare piece of furniture painted with grotesques, made in a workshop in Siena in the first half of the 15th century and intended for the storage of weapons.
Lace, embroidery and textile designs
The museum in Palazzo Davanzati boasts one of the most important collections of lace, embroidery and textile designs in Italy.
There are about 2000 pieces, from donations and state purchases, ranging from the 1600s to the 1900s.
WHY VISIT THE PALAZZO DAVANZATI MUSEUM
The museum of Palazzo Davanzati is the museum that best describes the role of the antiquarians and collectors active in Florence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Unique personalities who wanted to spread the idea of the Middle Ages and the Florentine Renaissance throughout Italy and the world.
However, the museum also bears witness to the commitment of the Italian State from the post-war period to the present day in protecting and making usable one of the rare examples of a 14th-century tower house and museum dedicated to private life in Florence from the 14th to the end of the 16th century.
THE REFURBISHMENT OF THE PALAZZO DAVANZATI MUSEUM
The museum of Palazzo Davanzati reopened to the public on 24 September 2022 after six months of intensive work with a completely new layout.
From the display of the 14th-century Guicciardini Blanket to a precious restored armoury, to the new room dedicated to antique lace, with one of the richest and most precious collections in Italy.
The need to rethink the exhibition itinerary of Palazzo Davanzati (the layout of which had not been changed since 2009), making it more didactically fluid and enriching it with other works of high artistic value, were the factors that led to the new layout curated by the museum’s director, Daniele Rapino, under the guidance of Bargello Museums director Paola D’Agostino, with the collaboration of architect Lorenzo Greppi.