The Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence was established out of a collaboration between two highly regarded institutions in the field of art conservation: the historic and renowned Opificio, founded in 1588 by Grand Duke Ferdinand I de’ Medici as a court manufacture, and the Gabinetto Restauri, founded by Ugo Procacci as part of Florence’s Superintendence in 1932. Today, it is one of the most important centers for restoration in the world and a reference point for international education, operating under the auspices of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage. The institution is also home to the Opificio delle Pietre Dure Museum.
The museum hosts a collection of works dating from the 16th to 19th centuries that have remained in the Opificio’s workshops, offering visitors a centuries-long journey through art and history. The Opificio’s most exquisite creations were donated by the Grand Dukes of Florence and are today found in palaces and museums throughout Europe, while the production workshops kept incomplete works or pieces that underwent further changes and dismantling.
On display are copies of inlaid pieces, depicting still lifes, portraits and landscapes, works in semi-precious stones and polychrome marbles and historic tools used by Florentine artisans for inlaying, bringing visitors on a discovery of the historic techniques used for processing materials.
The furniture on display are also magnificent (tables and slabs for the Chapel of the Princes in the Church of San Lorenzo), decorated with semi-precious stone mosaics.