Did you know that Tuscany is one of the most specialized regions in Europe in the textile, accessories, clothing and shoe industries? One of the best ways to discover the past and present of Tuscany’s fashion business is by visiting these fashion museums.
Formerly known as “Galleria del Costume” (or Costume Gallery), the "Museo della Moda e del Costume" in Florence is the only museum in Italy dedicated to the history of fashion and it certainly is one of the most important in the world.
The museum is hosted within the “Palazzina della Meridiana”, in the southern wing of Palazzo Pitti. The collection comprises six thousand items including costumes dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries, theatre costumes and accessories.
Useful tip: from May 2017 the Museum of Costume and Fashion is to to be visited together with the Treasury of the Grand Dukes museum, the Palatine Gallery and Royal Apartments, and the Gallery of Modern Art Gallery by purchasing a single ticket.
A few steps away from Florence’s Ponte Santa Trinita stands the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo. Inside, you can learn all about one of the most well-known Italian shoemakers: Salvatore Ferragamo.
The museum contains countless models of shoes created and owned by Ferragamo, dating from the 1920s until his death in 1960. The collection includes shoes designed for Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo and Audrey Hepburn. Of course, the museum also explores the role Salvatore Ferragamo played in the history of international fashion as well.
Prato’s “Museo del Tessuto” is the largest Italian centre dedicated to the history and art of textiles. First of all, you should know that the museum is housed within the premises of the historical “Cimatoria Campolmi Leopoldo e C.”, a monument of industrial archaeology and the only large 19th century textile factory built within Prato's medieval city walls.
It contains a large number of items, from archaeological textiles and sacred vestments to contemporary fabrics and historical tools and machinery.
The “Museo dell'Arte della Lana” is located in the ex-wool mill complex in Stia. Besides keeping the historic memory of the wool mill alive, the museum offers visitors the chance to touch, smell, listen, learn, and try some of the hands-on actions involved in the art of wool making.
UNOAERRE museum is the first Italian Museum dedicated to goldsmith art. The permanent collection boasts more than 2,000 works made in the last 90 years and it is constantly updated with the most representative pieces of contemporary jewellery so to preserve the future heritage of goldsmithery art and culture.
In San Giuliano Terme, Fondazione Cerratelli has one of the most historical and dazzling collections of theatre and film costumes, housed in Villa Roncioni, vaunting 30,000 outfits that retrace the history of costume in Italy.
Here you can admire costumes from Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, for which Danilo Donati won an Oscar as costume designer, as well as costumes from James Ivory’s A Room with a View and Zeffirelli’s The Taming of the Shrew.
Since 2011, Gucci has had a three-floors museum inside the historic Palazzo della Mercanzia, located in Piazza Signoria.
Its permanent exhibition illustrates the founding and development of this historic brand, following a thematic and chronological layout.
Update September 2017: the Gucci Museum is temporarily closed