Giotto di Bondone was born in Vespignano, Mugello. According to the verses written by Antonio Pucci, he was probably born in the year of 1267, though Vasari, in his Lives of the Artists, places his birth year as 1276. Vasari tells the story of Giotto's early years:
“And when he had reached the age of ten years…he was put in charge of the care of some sheep. Leading them to pasture from one place to another, he was constantly driven by his natural inclination to draw something of nature, be it onto a stone or the ground itself. One day came Cimabue on his way from Florence to Vespignano on business. He found Giotto on a low rock drawing a realistic portrait of a sheep from life with a sharp edged stone. Seeing this Cimabue stopped in wonder and asked the boy if he wanted to go with him”.
Whether or not Vasari’s words correspond with the truth, Giotto moved to Florence and came into contact with the city’s artistic atmosphere at a very young age and embarked on what is recognised as an extraordinary career. Throughout the course of his life, Giotto not only worked in Assisi and Padua – where his frescoes are still visited and admired by visitors from around the world today – but also in Rome, Naples, Bologna, Rimini, Milan and in Florence where he left behind masterpieces such as the Crucifixion in Santa Maria Novella, the Ognissanti Madonna and the Bardi and Peruzzi chapels in Santa Croce.
The link between the Bondone family and their region of origin continued; we know that his sons resided within the hills of Vespignano and one of them became the prior of the Church of San Martino.
On the very summit of the hills, next to the church of San Martino, lies a medieval house which, according to tradition, is the birth place of Giotto. This house has been tranformed into a museum dedicated to the artist. What awaits the visitor is a remarkable story of images interweaved between past and present, ancient and contemporary, observation alongside experience.
The first rooms are dedicated to Giotto. Here the visitor can take advantage of an immersive and spectacular video about the artist himself, together with interactive multimedia stations which allow an in-depth outline of his life to be traced. In the adjacent room are three more multimedia stations which allow for a full analysis of Giotto’s artistic production. The visitor can explore a single scene and access, to a high standard of definition, any particular detail. The works are in fact equipped so as to be navigated with a brief explanatory text.
The second area of the house is dedicated to the relationship between the surrounding terrain, nature and countryside. This is explored thanks to the use of a virtual video environment which, using contemporary language, allows the outside environment to ‘enter’ into the house thus allowing the visitor to ‘step out’ into the landscape.
The final part of the museum is the “workshop”--a place where techniques, skills and recipes of artistic practise are passed on, renewed and so come alive. The two spaces upstairs propose not only to be organised working spaces (in the studio programme there are meetings with artists, seminars and workshops aimed at students of every age and families) but can also be used for free and autonomous exploration. Everybody has the opportunity to create a work of art.
Friday-Sunday: 10am-1pm; 3pm-7pm
Reservations should be made at the number below at least 48 hrs prior to your visit.
€4.00 / €3.00 reduced price. The ticket includes entrance to the Museum of Beato Angelico.
The museum is accessible to wheelchair users.
Ph: +39 055 8439224