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Centro di Documentazione Giovanni Michelucci, Pistoia

Giovanni Michelucci Documentation Centre

The Giovanni Michelucci Documentation Centre was created by the architect Bruno Sacchi in the Town Hall

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The Giovanni Michelucci Documentation Centre was opened in 1980 and houses a large number of drawings and models by Giovanni Michelucci. The artist was born in Pistoia in 1891 and is considered one of the most important contemporary Italian architects and urban designers. He was always aware of the problems of modern man and tried to work on projects that brought together architecture and the need for a ‘better society’. He described this ‘better society’ himself as, ‘Not an indifferent community or faceless mass, but rather a community made up of individuals, each with their own needs, anxieties, desires and hopes’.

Giovanni Michelucci was forever turning his thoughts to this kind of city, with its ‘sense of the social’ and ‘mutual respect between individuals’. In this ideal kind of city, where ‘home, neighbourhood and district weren’t just for the inhabitants but rather for men’, where the job of the architect was to bring people together. Giovanni Michelucci’s work is distinguished by important and famous works such as San Giovanni Battista church, Longarone church, the Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze bank, the headquarters of the Monte di Paschi bank at Colle Val d’Elsa – all buildings which symbolically bear witness to the values of humanity.

Works of art by Giovanni Michelucci in Pistoia:
Borsa Merci (1949-50),
Church of Collina in Pontelungo (1953-54),
Church della Vergine (1954-56),
Church del Villaggio Belvedere (1959-62),
Osteria del Gambero Rosso in Collodi (1961-63),
Bastione Thyrion Middle School (1966-75),
Casa Reali-Cangioli (1965-69),
Villa Iozzelli (1971-74).

The Giovanni Michelacci Documentation Centre was created by the architect Bruno Sacchi in the city’s Town Hall. It was opened in 1980 and houses a large number of drawings and models by Giovanni Michelucci which span his entire artistic career. The collection is made up of around nine hundred drawings which are pen, felt pen and pencil sketches on drawing paper, yellow paper and card and which are often accompanied by annotations giving a clear idea of the architect’s intentions and ideas. In the post-war period he worked on the reconstruction of Borgo San Jacopo in Florence. The drawings he complete for this project are shown together with his studies on the restructuring of the area around Santa Croce (1968) and other more general studies concerning elements of the city. Next came the project to build the Cassa di Risparmio bank in Via Bufalini in Florence, the Vergine church in Pistoia, the skyscraper in Livorno and the Villaggio Belvedere church in Pistoia.

His work from the 1960s includes sketches for San Giovanni Battisti church and drawings of for the ‘Sacrario’ monument for the fallen soldiers of Kindu at Pisa Airport and the planning of Borgomaggiore church in San Marino. There are many drawings for Longarone church and even more (around 130) for the project for the Centro Sperimentale del Marmo (the Experimental Marble Centre) dedicated to Michelangelo in the Apuane Alps in Carrara in 1972-74. Each one of the works has been ordered and photographed and the Centre also houses a library of books all dedicated to the life and work of Giovanni Michelucci.
Like all medieval towns strategically located in the hills, Collodi bears a troubled past. Its history remembers the plights of the Garzoni family, equivalent to the Uberti family in Florence. The Garzoni (a Ghibelline family) were opponents to Guelf-run Florence, so after the Florentines consolidated their power in Valdinievole (in 1339), they were forced to flee to Lucca, where they were ...