In order to illustrate the many facets of the heritage it holds, the Museo degli Innocenti offers its visitors three different theme-based routes: history, architecture and art.
The exhibition starts in the basement, which is dedicated to the history of the institution. Thanks to the videos and the interactive touch screens, you will get acquainted with the daily life of the children and nannies that inhabited the facility throughout the centuries. One thing you absolutely cannot miss at this level is the circular room with 140 small drawers all around, cherishing little identification objects (such as medals, badges and rings) documented with the date and name when the parents left the children at the institution.
The itinerary continues on the ground floor, where you will discover the architectural uniqueness of the Innocenti while wandering around its courtyards and porticoes. Needless to say, the leading role here is taken by Brunelleschi’s vision of Renaissance architecture, both in the external Loggia degli Innocenti and in the internal Cortile degli Uomini (that is, the Men Courtyard), but that’s not all! Take a moment to notice the iron window under the Loggia, used to receive the children from 1660 to 1875, and walk through the large Cortile delle Donne (the Women Courtyard) completed by Francesco della Luna in 1439 and recently renovated.
Upstairs, on the third level, you will find the large art section of the Innocenti Museum. The outstanding artistic heritage gathered by the institution throughout the years ranges from Sandro Botticelli’s “Madonna with the Child and an Angel” to Domenico Ghirlandaio’s “Adoration of the Magi”, while not forgetting Piero di Cosimo, Luca della Robbia and Neri di Bicci. Once again, let us give you some helpful advice: don’t miss the so-called Brunelleschi window, which overlooks the upper structure of the church ceiling (designed by our beloved architect, of course).