Frederick Stibbert (1838-1906), the collector who lived in the villa on the Montughi hill, belonged to that refined world which, in the second half of the 1800s, united English writers, men of letters and amateurs, under the same cultural framework, fully integrated in Florentine society. When the original building became insufficient to house the collections which Stibbert kept increasing with passion, already thinking in terms of creating a museum, he had many rooms added to it and decorated by important artists such as the architect Giuseppe Poggi, the painter Gaetano Bianchi, the sculptor Passaglia, thanks to whom the structure assumed the character which makes it one of the most precious and rarest examples of 19th-century museums today.
The vast park surrounding the villa also underwent remodelling, turning it into one of the most beautiful gardens in Florence. Today the museum, which became municipal property in 1906, is made of 60 halls housing Stibbert’s imposing collections of disparate origin: The furnishings themselves include pieces of great value, such as numerous chests from to the 1400’s, others, in Lombardy style, from the 1700’s, besides an exceptional table made of malachite, from Demidoff. Incidentally, one of the villa’s most typical aspects is the use of splendid leather upholstery. In the halls, crowded with sumptuous objects, there are many paintings as well, also indicative of the collector’s taste, little inclined to primitive fashion and fonder of Dutch painting and dead natures. Very rich is also the collection of portraits from various epochs. Another main section consists of porcelain and majolica objects, representative of all the major Italian and foreign factories.
The fame of the museum is tied above all to Stibbert’s passion for arms and armours, which allowed him to put together an imposing collection as for the number, variety and rarity of the pieces, datable from the 15th to the 17th century. The majority consists of European weapons, but there are also oriental, Persian, Indian and Ottoman ones. Particularly suggestive in the Armoury is the cavalcade of manikins fitted with the equipment and the arms proper of the Italian, German and Ottoman knights of the 16th and 17th centuries. Very important is also the section dedicated to antique Japanese weapons, enriched with tens of armours and hundreds of swords, making it the largest collection of its kind outside of Japa
Via Stibbert 26 - Firenze
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Source: Florence APT