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The little known Florence: discover the Opificio delle Pietre Dure

Everywhere in Florence you can meet famous museums, ancient churches and wonderful bridges. All the most renowned attractions are within walking distance.
But our city has lots of treasures hidden behind thick walls, inside museums that are less known but not less fascinating than the others.

We have to admit that unfortunately, Florence is usually seen as a long series of clichés: going walking along the river towards Ponte Vecchio, the candlelit dinner at Piazzale Michelangelo and the visit to the house of Beatrice, the woman that inspired all the artworks of Dante.

Sure, all this stuff is beautiful and interesting, but as a local, I feel like I have to give some advices to all our guests, in order to discover that our city is so much more than this. It is full of extraordinary and off-the-map places.

For example, the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (the Factory of the Semi-Precious stones), proud watchdog of semi-precious stones since the Medici Family ruled Florence.


A life long tradition


If you are visiting Florence with your partner, the Opificio is a not to be missed attraction. Especially if – just like me and many other Florentines – you are fond of unique and little known places.

The Opificio delle Pietre Dure is a purely Florentine excellence, because it was funded by one of the Signori of Florence: the Granduca Ferdinando I de’ Medici in 1588 subsidized the foundation of a lab specialized in the art of inlaid semi-precious stones.   

At the factory, expert artisans invented the complex technique of the “commesso fiorentino”, a kind of perfect puzzle made of a combination of inlaid pieces of marble and semi-precious stones. They were able to create astonishing figures, humans, sceneries with clear profiles and hues. A particular effect very close to painting.


A present and past art hero


For over than 3 centuries, the prestigious factory formed artisans that created true artworks to adorn the villas and residences of noblemen in Florence and all around the world.
Later on, the factory became an important restoration laboratory for top-notch works of art.

Today the people that work here are the best you can find and the Opificio is the most important restoration institute in the world: the restorers worked on the Cross of Giotto, the Pala di San Zeno of Mantegna, Alchemy by Jackson Pollock and La Visitazione of Luca della Robbia.

Young restorers and students from all around the world try to spend some months at the Opificio to learn the best techniques of this art.


An exhibition about the Twentieth Century


If you are staying in Florence these days, I recommend you to spend some time at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure and its Museum. On display, there are the Medici Collections, the tools and instruments to make the commesso fiorentino and the exhibition The Twentieth Century of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.

Until the 4th of May, 2019 you can have a look at the recent history of the factory, especially the artworks made with commesso fiorentino technique during a competition of 1953.
As a fond of arts Florentine, I was really moved by this exhibit and I ended up falling in love with the inlaid stones I could see.
Falling in love is definitely the right word to describe this world, a strong feeling that you can perceive all around you in this place.

A magic and unique place, perfect to be visited by couples, even better if you are coming on Valentine’s Day.


Book your Valentine’s Day Deals at Grand Hotel Adriatico

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