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The Houses of Memories in Tuscany

Even the greatest artists of the past had a house, just like us! But unlike our homes, visiting the home of a leading art/literature/music/art collector is a unique experience that tells us something more about the artists who have helped build the culture and history of Tuscany, in a more intimate and familiar dimension.

[Photo Credits: Matteo Paciotti]
[Photo Credits: Matteo Paciotti]

In Tuscany there are more than 50 Houses of Memory (ita). Here we show you where to find the houses of the great artists of the past. Casa Giotto (ita) - Loc. Vespignano, Vicchio He was the forerunner of the Renaissance, one of the great innovators of Italian painting, admired by his contemporaries and by the most important artists of the decades and centuries that followed. (He was even mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy!). In the town of Vicchio you’ll find the home of Giotto, at least so the tradition says. It was an old and simple medieval building, which, over time, has undergone several changes. Recently, the house was restored, and it now offers a journey through the works of the great painter as well as an educational workshop on the art of the fresco. Casa Masaccio (ita) - San Giovanni Valdarno (Arezzo) Masaccio continues to be a great figure in art history, even though he died very young, at only 27 years old. He was born in 1401 in a house in the historic center of San Giovanni Valdarno (Corso Italia 83), an old three-story building, restored several times over the years. Today, Casa Masaccio is home to the city collection of modern and contemporary art. Casa Piero della Francesca - San Sepolcro (Arezzo) Piero della Francesca, one of the greatest Italian painters of the fifteenth century, was born around 1415 in Borgo San Sepolcro. The town remained a cardinal point for him, even in the years that saw him hosted by the various courts of the Renaissance. Here you will find some of his famous works, such as the great Polittico della Misericordia (Civic Museum), and this is where he died in 1492. The impressive building, with its ornate elements, spacious rooms and wooden ceilings, has been completely restored. Casa Leonardo - Vinci (Florence) Leonardo da Vinci is considered one of the most famous and interesting artists in the history of mankind. Three kilometers from the center of Vinci, in a beautiful hilly area, is what is supposed to be his birthplace: a farmhouse, renovated several times, that still preserves the typical appearance and setting of the old country house, including some antique furniture and a fireplace. Recent renovation work has resulted in a new layout, with a permanent educational exhibition. Casa Michelangelo - Caprese Michelangelo (Arezzo) The father was the podestà (mayor) of this small town in the Valtiberina area and Michelangelo’s home was the public palace, inside the castle. The house has a simple two-floor structure and it is home to the Michelangelo museum, with a library and casts and reproductions of his masterpieces; it also contains statues of famous contemporary sculptors, partly in the garden. Also in Caprese, outside the walls, there is the small thirteenth-century church of San Giovanni Battista, in which Michelangelo was baptized. Casa Buonarroti (ita) - Florence This house, in the center of Florence, was purchased by Michelangelo himself and has been owned by his family for centuries. His descendants have gradually adorned the building with works of art and memorabilia. The last direct descendant left the house to the City of Florence and Casa Buonarroti was opened to the public in 1859. The twenty-two rooms contain works by Michelangelo - memorabilia, sketches and models - and works by other artists; the approximately 200 original drawings by Michelangelo are displayed in rotation. Casa Vasari - Arezzo Giorgio Vasari was born in Arezzo in 1511. He was a renowned painter and architect, and he also wrote biographies of the greatest painters, sculptors and architects. Vasari bought the house in Via XX Settembre in 1540 and personally took care of the restoration and the frescoes found in the rooms, but he had almost no time to live due to his frequent sojourns in Florence and Rome. The house has two floors, several frescoed rooms and a small garden. Casa Pontormo - Empoli The house in which Jacopo Carucci, known as "Pontormo", was born in 1494 has recently become a museum and a place of research on sixteenth-century art. The building is a simple medieval house with three floors and was identified as the birthplace of Pontormo by documentary research conducted in 1956.   Source: http://www.regione.toscana.it/