The Treasury of the Grand Dukes, previously known as the Silver Museum, is located in the rooms on the ground floor at Palazzo Pitti in Florence, splendidly frescoed in the 17th century for the marriage between Ferdinand II de’ Medici and Vittoria della Rovere.
Here, visitors can admire precious objects of all kinds, like gems, cameos, pietre dure, ivories and jewellery, all documenting the royal pomp and collecting tastes of the dynasties that succeeded each other in Tuscany, particularly the Medici and the Lorraines.
In the 1400s, Cosimo the Elder began a vast and eclectic collection of precious objects, a practice that was then continued by his son Piero and grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent: one of the most important parts of the collection is in fact the vases that once belonged to Lorenzo, pieces of unique importance from an historic and artistic point of view.
In the 1500s, with Grand Duke Cosimo I, the development of the family’s collections began to be a part of Medici diplomacy, making Florence one of the most recognized European centers of the production of the “minor” arts.
Engravers of crystal, cameos and pietre dure, goldsmiths and silversmiths created magnificent objects that can today be admired in the museum.
Other splendid works include the lapis lazuli vase mounted in gold by the goldsmith Bilivert after a design by Bernardo Buontalenti, the ivories brought from Germany in the 17th century by Prince Mattias de’ Medici and the large collection of cameos that belonged to Anna Maria Luisa, last family’s last heir. Distinguished for their age and beauty are the gold plates, tankards, horns and chalices brought to Florence by Ferdinand III of the Lorraine family.