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Casa Buonarroti


This home of the Buonarroti family stands on the site of three houses, purchased by Michelangelo between 1516 and 1525. The artist lived them. The palazzo built at the wishes of the great grandnephew of the artist, Michelangelo the Younger (1568-1647), was bequeathed by the last surviving descendant (Cosimo, who died in 1858) to the city of Florence.

In 1959 it was open to the public as a museum, hosting the collections of art and archaeology of the Buonarroti family. The itinerary touches the 22 expositional rooms and it is a great way to see all of the most famous works of art. From room 1 to room 9 one should note the Busto di Michelangelo by Daniele da Volterra, to then admire the beautiful works by Vincenzo Danti and by Cristofano Allori, respectively: Venere con due amorini and two Miracoli.

In room 8 there are terrecotte displayed that can be placed in the time frame 1400-1500, which came from the famous boutique of Andrea della Robbia. An object in homage to the first efforts of the artists seems to be Michelangelo fanciullo scolpisce la testa del fauno di Cesare Zocchi.

In room 9 one can see the archaeological collections collected in the course of the 1600’ s-1700 by the artist's descendents. On the first floor of the museum one can enter in room 11 to see that certain painting with 'nude figures that combat in their immobility, that which [Michelangelo] had started with the force of a great man and then never finished, a beautiful thing'. It is the relief dated 1490-92, Battaglia dei centauri, whose theme was advised by the artist Poliziano, the poet that was part of Lorenzo il Magnifico's family.

Beautiful the nude bodies in conflict among themselves. Looking at the female figure of the group situated at the centre of the composition, she is held still by a centaur and grasped by her hair by another of the group. Another youthful work by, the Madonna della scala (1490-92), a surprising relief flattened in marble, that Vasari considered an imitation of the 'stiacciati' reliefs by Donatello.

Room 12 reserves an exuberant Modello per dio fluviale (1524) constructed by Michelangelo, in wood, wool and terracotta, probably for the realization of a sculpture that would be used in the New Sacristy of San Lorenzo. Also the model project for the façade of the same church is displayed in this sort of temple dedicated to the genial artist. It was designed by Pietro Urbano using Michelangelo's design (1517 c.).

The project did not go ahead, even though it was commissioned by Pope Leone X and even though Michelangelo had the wooden model at his disposition. Today the facade of the Basilica di San Lorenzo is presented in simple stone, interrupted by three substituted openings. Even room 13 reserves a famous work. It is the Crocifisso that was made for the prior of Santo Spirito, Niccolò di Giovanni, by Lapo Bicchiellini.

Believed to be lost for a long time, it was rediscovered under another painting, in 1962, which alternated its authenticity. The critics were divided in its attribution, to Buonarroti or to Taddeo Curradi. Room 15 offers works that are derived from Michelangelo: Copia del Giudizio Universale, copia del gruppo centrale of the same work by the hand of Alessandro Allori.

Room 18 is a small jewel inside the treasure chest of memories that Michelangelo il Giovane celebrated in honour of his forefather. One may admire the pavement realized with varnished ceramics from Montelupo, the wooden designs on the doors designed by Pietro da Cortona and the pictorial cycle that depicts episodes of the artist's life, among the authors: Giovanni Bilivert, Empoli, Matteo Rosselli, Passignano. Very important are the lateral paintings in which the celebrated Artemisia Gentileschi painted Allegorie di Virtù.

The so-called room of the night and of the day, room 19, presents frescoes by Pietro da Cortona. From one opening one passes into the studio of Michelangelo il Giovane, in which it is possible to admire the portrait of Cristofano Allori from 1610.

The room of the Angels is room 20 in which it is possible to see another magnificent wooden design, by Pietro da Cortona, in addition to a copia della Madonna della Scala realized by Giambologna when the original work was donated to Cosimo I by Leonardo Buonarroti in 1566 (it would then be given back from Cosimo II to Michelangelo il Giovane).

Cecco Bravo, 'painter without rules', frescoed the ceiling of the Library (room 21). Here there are Etruscan bronzes, numismatic collections and other ancient collection from Michelangelo il Giovane and from Filippo as well as other designs by Michelangelo: Torso virile, Ercole e Caco, Crocifisso. Room 22, the last one, conducts us to the end of the visit giving us a view of ancient sculptures and the head of the Hellenistic period of Apollo, the god of all arts.

For any information:

Casa Buonarroti
Via Ghibellina 70 (055 241752).
Open 9.30am-2pm. Closed on Tue.
Admission: 6,50 euro.

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