The Opificio delle Pietre Dure (Precious Gem Workshop) was opened in 1588 by Grand Duke Ferdinand I. He opened the workshop in a wing of the Uffizi and hired artisans who were highly skilled in working with precious gems and rare stones. The first project was to decorate the Cappella dei Principi, which was then being constructed. In 1796, Pietro Leopoldo transferred the precious gem workshop to its current home in Via degli Alfani, although part of the work was also carried out in the Fortezza da Basso. Today, the tradition of creating and restoring mosaics made from precious gems and stone is as strong as ever.
The museum was set up between 1952 and 1976 and is home to works made from precious gems, coloured marble mosaics, paintings on stone, oil paintings and a selection of tools used in creating these works of art. The Medici coat of arms which is on display is of particular interest, as is the 1597 stone-based portrait of Cosimo I. There is also an interesting eighteenth century model of the Cappella dei Principi and an 1849 porphyry stone ‘piano di tavolo’ work with tools and floral garlands.
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 8.15am – 2pm / Thursday 8.15am – 7pm. Closed on Sunday and public holidays.
Tickets: €4,00 full price / €2,00 reduced price
For more information:
Via degli Alfani 78