In a recent post we showed you that there is a Tuscany that goes beyond the Uffizi or the other famous museums and attractions. For the most curious of you, we made a list: the 5 most original museums. Given that you liked it, here are 5 other original museums!
- The Natural Museum of La Specola (Florence) is a wild place! Huge and tiny stuffed animals, insects and birds, but the most original, impressive (and a bit scary) collection is by far the one of anatomical waxes, an art developed in Florence in the 17th century to aid the teaching of medicine. The collection was developed by Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo and the first director of the museum, and was conceived as a three-dimensional treaty to teach anatomy, as it is composed of parts in wax, tempera drawings and explanations. The “artists” performed dissections on corpses, models were then made in clay on the pieces, followed by plaster casts into which wax was poured to achieve the final models.
- The Art Museum for Children in Siena, founded in 1998, has a mission: to familiarize a younger audience (3-11 years old) with museums and works of art. How? In two ways: a collection of ancient and contemporary works, focused and dedicated to childhood and an education program. This museum is practically unique in Italy.
- The Museum of Gunpowder and Smuggling is in Chitignano, in the Casentino territory (Arezzo area) and is part of the network of so-called "eco-museums", a circuit created to gather, document and put on display the traditions of the region, as well as to highlight the importance of maintaining the memory of important ancient skills and habits. On show is the history of the production and sale of gunpowder, an activity for which the Chitignano area was famous in the nineteenth century. Here there were in fact a number of authorised “polverifici”, or gunpowder deposits, and also many illegal ones hidden throughout the woodland, which meant that there was a thriving smuggling trade. Outside the museum there is an itinerary known as the “Polveriera dell’Inferno”, which leads to one of the largest gunpowder hideouts in the atmospheric woodland.
- The Museum of Knives and Cutting Tools in Scarperia (Mugello area, north of Florence) celebrates the ancient bond between Scarperia and knives (the “Statute of Knife Makers” was established in the 15th century). Knife making has been in fact practiced here for centuries, and has been the town’s main economic activity, giving the population a renowned throughout the world for its mastery of this trade. Assembled in the Palazzo dei Vicari, in the Knives and Cutting Tools Museum visitors are guided throughout the collection and are given the rare opportunity to handle a knife, learn to dismantle it and put it back together. The "knife makers" workshop (Bottega del Coltellinaio), which is located next to the museum, is where memory becomes reality, and where it is possible to see knives being made by master artisans on site.
- The Gino Bartali Cycling Museum (Ponte a Ema, Florence) will delight all the bicycles and cycling fans (and therefore all those arriving for the World Cycling Championships in Florence!). Opened in April 2006, it has a video projection room, a hall dedicated to Gino Bartali, a great Italian (Tuscan!) cyclist who won the Giro d’Italia three times and the Tour de France twice, as well as many other trophies from the 1930s to the 1950s, a room which lists other cyclists and another one with a collection of bicycles from the end of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century.