There is a hidden place in Florence where Michelangelo Buonarroti left the mark of his genius. This place is Michelangelo’s secret room in the Medici Chapels, which has finally opened to the public.
Here is why you must see it and why it is so important.
Michelangelo’s Secret Room of the Medici Chapels: A Hidden Treasure Reveals its Secrets
2023 was a historic year for the Medici Chapels. The inauguration of a new exit of the museum route, in fact, has improved accessibility to the museum and initiated a new phase for the public, who can now also access a real secret room.
To learn more about the history and works of art in the Medici Chapels, I invite you to read the article ‘Medici Chapels: where they are, what to see, tickets’.
THE DISCOVERY OF MICHELANGELO’S SECRET ROOM
Michelangelo’s Secret Room, discovered in 1975, is now open to the public for the first time, starting 15 November 2023. This fine news is due to the completion of the new exit and the modern restyling of the museum.
The Secret Room, accessible from the New Sacristy via a narrow staircase, holds a series of charcoal drawings attributed to Michelangelo Buonarroti.
AN EXCLUSIVE AND PROTECTED VISIT
In an initial period, visits will be run in an experimental setting since this is a place that contains valuable works of art that have remained hidden for centuries.
The small room, located right under the New Sacristy, is said to have been Michelangelo’s refuge for about two months. A period during which the artist had to hide from the wrath of Clement VII.
The room is 10 metres long, 3 metres wide and has a vault at most 2.5 metres high. It was here that Michelangelo left some drawings, which emerged during cleaning work under a thick layer of plaster.
They are studies of entire figures, sometimes sketches of anatomical parts and sometimes more precise outlines of faces and human figures in various poses. They were made with charcoal and sanguine, a red ochre used to make pastels for drawing, widely used by Renaissance artists.
Scholars have no doubts in attributing these hidden drawings to Michelangelo. Not only because the artist found refuge here for months, but also because the echoes of these drawings lead to the Sistine Chapel, the Last Judgement, Michelangelo’s David and many other masterpieces by Buonarroti.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR VISITING MIGHELANGELO’S SECRET ROOM
The cost of the entrance ticket is 23 euro per person, which includes a reservation fee of 3 euro, in addition to the ticket price for the Medici Chapel Museum of 10 euro. These measures are essential to guarantee a safe and respectful visit to the works of art.
Info and reservations: tel. +39 055 294883
Access is limited and is only possible by reservation.
Children under the age of 10 and the disabled are not allowed access, as Michelangelo’s secret room is small and it is not currently possible to guarantee services suitable for the disabled.
The Opificio delle Pietre Dure is in charge of monitoring the condition of the room, allowing entry to small groups of a maximum of 4 people at a time.
This strict control is aimed at protecting the drawings and ensuring optimal conservation conditions.
The number of visitors per week is limited to 100, and the maximum dwell time is 15 minutes, to minimise exposure to the LED light already installed in 2018.
Michelangelo’s Secret Room is an unforgettable journey into the heart of Renaissance art, a unique experience that combines Florence’s glorious past with its vibrant contemporary art scene.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to immerse yourself in art history!
For a broader overview of Florentine art, I also recommend you read the in-depth article I have dedicated to Art in Florence: what to see, together with the guides on Florence Museums to see and the 6 beautiful and little-known museums in Florence.
Per una panoramica più ampia sull’arte fiorentina ti consiglio anche di leggere l’approfondimento che ho dedicato all’Arte a Firenze: cosa vedere, insieme alle guide sui Musei di Firenze da vedere e sui 6 musei bellissimi e poco conosciuti di Firenze.