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Anghiari, its museums

Visit one of the town’s many fascinating venues

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Palazzo Taglieschi
This historical palazzo, or house, stands in Piazza Taglieschi, previously known as Piazza del Borghetto, around which the fifteenth century hamlet of Anghiari was built.

The building appears to date back to the Renaissance but, in fact, it was reconstructed by joining up the pre-existing medieval tower-houses. Thus, although the design of the building is Renaissance-style, you can still see characteristics of medieval architecture such as the Gothic arched windows of the side walls, the overhanging upper floor supported on giant corbels on the facade, and in the interior, the spacious cross-vaulted store-room, with stumpy brick half-pillars and stone floors.

In all likelihood the building was commissioned by Matteo Taglieschi, grandson of Bartolomeo and son of Antonio, and know as Matteo the Dog. Chroniclers record him as a strong, proud mercenary Captain in the service of the Genoese, the Florentines and the Bolognese, as well as ambassador for the local Community on several occasions.
The Palazzo became a State Museum thanks to its last owner, Don Nilo Conti, parish priest of Anghiari, who worked diligently to gather together records and examples of the art and popular traditions of the Upper Tiber Valley.The State Museum of Palazzo Taglieschi contains an interesting collection of sculptures, paintings and household articles displayed in the 20 rooms of the fine fifteenth century building where visitors can also admire, amongst other things, the original paneled and painted ceilings and the sculptured stone sinks and fireplaces.

The State Museum of Palazzo Taglieschi Information:

Piazza Mameli, 16
Weekdays: 8.30am – 7pm
Holidays: 9am – 1.30pm
Closed: 1st January, 1st May, 25th December
Tel: 0575 788 001

Palazzo del Marzocco
The fifteenth century Palazzo Marzocco faces onto the little square of the 'Borghetto', currently called Piazza Mameli. The house was previously known by the Angelieri family name and some sandstone fragments of their coat of arms can still be seen on the front of the building today.

Palazzo del Marzocco was built by the Angelieri family who, during the sixteenth century, put together and reconstructed two pre-existing medieval tower houses.The name 'Marzocco' does not come from the past owners of the house however, but from the lion which sits in the upper right hand corner of the façade. Local records say that in 1526 the Florentines had the lion, which holds a Medici coat of arms, put up in this public place. The lion was considered to be a symbol of the sovereignty of the people and therefore, a symbol of one of the principles of the Florentine Republic to which the town had been subject since 1388.

The collection includes a number of notable works including important prehistorical and Roman artifacts, and relics of important wars from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. An entire section is dedicated to the Battle of Anghiari and the painting of this subject by Leonardo da Vinci.

The museum is partially accessible for wheelchair users. The prehistoric section includes a touch tour for people who are blind are partially sighted and labels in braille.

"Palazzo della Battaglia" Information:
Museo delle Memorie e del Paesaggio nella Terra di Anghiari
Piazza Mameli, 1-2
Open: Monday-Sunday, 9am – 7pm
Closed: 25th December
Entrance Fees: 
€3.00, reduced price tickets are sold to groups larger than 20 people. Local residents and  children under the age of 14 enter free.
Tel: 0575 787 023
E-mail: battaglia@anghiari.it

The Confraternity of the Misericordia (Mercy)
There were many groups of men and women in Anghiari who were dedicated to charity work. The majority of these had their origins in the latter half of the 1300s, in particular starting in 1348 which was the year of the Black Death, the plague epidemic that decimated the population of Europe (and was the key player in Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron). Each group, or confraternity, was distinguished by the colour of the cloaks that they wore and had names such as the Compagnia di Santa Maria della Misericordia (or Compagnia dei Neri - Blacks), the Fraternita di Santa Maria del Borghetto (or Fraternita di Anghiari), the Compagnia di Sant Antonio, San Jacopo and San Cristoforo, the Compagnia del Santissimo Crocifisso o Corpus Domini. They continued until legislation brought in by the Grand Duke in 1785 closed down a great number of them, transferring their assets to the diocese, which was made responsible for the management of the new charities. However, the imposition of this authority over the charities meant that they were not very popular with the people at large.

Spirito Santo was revived, having been active since 1564 and recognised by the highest authorities both of the Grand Duke and of the Church. But it was not long before the French gained power and abolished it again although it re-formed immediately at the end of the Napoleonic period. The Compagnia particularly distinguished itself during the typhus epidemic of 1817. At this point the members of the Compagnia added a hood to their cloaks which was similar to that of the Misericordia of Florence and for that reason they became known as the Confraternita di Misericordia.
The members of the Compagnia rushed to help the sick anywhere in the whole Comune of Anghiari, carrying them on their shoulders to their headquarters at the Badia where they would sometimes stay for several days.

At the beginning of the second half of the 1800's, to make it easier to transport the sick to the hospital in Sansepolcro, the Compagnia obtained a kind of stretcher on wheels which was the forerunner of the modern ambulance. In 1870 the Ospedale della Misericordia was opened in Anghiari, being transferred to the Convento della Croce at the beginning of the 1900s. In the following years the Compagnia had its new headquarters in the ex-Ospizio di Fra'Damaso and kept up to date with the new technology using motor vehicles for the transportation of the sick and the dead. In 1975 they finally got the go-ahead to sort out the historical Archives of the Compagnia and to set up the Museum in its original building at the Badia, documenting the entire history of the Confraternita Anghiarese and displaying a variety of early stretchers and 'ambulances' as well as the venerated Santissimo Crocifisso (Sacred Cross).

Museum of the Misericordia Information:
Via Nenci, 15
Saturday afternoon: 3pm – 6pm
Sunday and holidays: 9.30am, - 12.30pm / 3pm – 6pm
Tel: 0575 787 023