Reliquiario di San Sisto

Museum of the Treasure of Santa Maria, Impruneta

Silver and gold works by Ghiberti and other 15th and 16th century masters

Piazza Buondelmonti 28

Housed in rooms adjoining the basilica of Santa Maria, the museum consists of three main sections: illuminated manuscripts, gold-work and sacred parchments and other vestments relating to the basilica, which, during the course of its history has been the beneficiary of many fine donations, some of which were from the Grand Duchy. The silverware collection is in the Sala Silvani, where there is a display of precious silver and gold items, many of which are arranged according to type. The most significant pieces are: a partially gold-plated and enamelled silver-lamina processional cross, attributed to Lorenzo Ghiberti (1425 ca.); two silver patterns attributed to Antonio di Salvi (1515); and a collection of rock crystal objects, four candlesticks with a cross-holder and cross given to the Virgin of Impruneta by Cristina of Lorraine in 1633.

On the left-hand wall of the same room is the 15th-century bas-relief depicting The Finding of the Icon, which evokes the episode that lies at the origin of the worship of the Madonna of Impruneta. In the manuscript section there are 11 valuable illuminated codexes, seven from the 14th and four from the 15th century, including: a gradual attributed to Lippo di Benivieni (1310-20 ca.); an antiphonary from the mid-15th century decorated by an artist influenced by Orcagna; and three 15th-century manuscripts illuminated by Antonio di Girolamo. The recently-established section devoted to liturgical vestments consists of a collection of very fine sacred parchments that includes unique items such as the “capes” used for the venerated image of the Virgin.

A visit to the museum can be paired with a visit to the Basilica of Santa Maria, which has been restored and renovated a number of times over the centuries and embellished with some fine works of art. Besides the enamel terracottas by Luca della Robbia in the chapels designed by Michelozzi on each side of the presbytery, there are some 17th-century paintings including The Nativity of the Virgin by Passignano, The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian by Matteo Rosselli and The Vocation of St. Peter by Empoli.
A town famous for making terracotta throughout history
In the past it was know as “in prunetis” or “in the pine-woods” and in fact you can still visit sparse remains of beautiful pine-woods among the olive trees of the surrounding hills. During the Middle Ages,Impruneta and the surrounding villages belonged to the territories of the Buondelmonti family with its castle in the village of Montebuoni. ...