Today I will be the one to take you around the city and as always, with a great pride because, everybody knows that thanks to its artistic richness Florence is a city of art, but maybe not everyone knows that in the top 15 art museums more visited in Italy, even one third is represented by Florentine Museums. Every tourist that wants to know our city should visit sooner or later, all of them, starting from the Museum of San Marco, my favourite one.
Just behind the Antiche Dimore Fiorentine, in the homonymous square that you can reach in less than 5 minutes walk, there is a 5th century Convent, where the Domenican Sister are still living. It is an architectural masterpiece commissioned by Cosimo Il Vecchio de ‘ Medici , Grand Duke of Tuscany, which was then renewed by Michelozzo, one of the greatest architects of the Renaissance. A structure which still retains the greatest collection of the works of one of the most important members of Florentine Renaissance, Beato Angelico who has been a prior in this convent that welcomed characters of the calibre of Sant ‘ Antonio Pierozzi, Bishop of Florence and Girolamo Savonarola, the dominican monk who preached against corruption and revocation of the moral of the clergy and for this reasons has been hanged and burned at the stake in the Signoria Square.
To visit the San Marco Museum you can access Sant’ Antonio’s cloister on which overlooks the Church, then from the Great Refectory, an ancient area dedicated to cooking and household chores, containing the paintings by Fra Bartolomeo (another illustrious Dominican and painter lived in the convent) at the beginning of the century, then the Hospice which houses the most beautiful paintings on the table made by Beato Angelico, but also The Capitolo, which leads to the various halls in which are displayed all the decorations and one of the most famous frescoes of the great friar and master, The Calvary of st. Dominic.
The heritage of this museum is truly incredible, but among its countless works I would like to suggest you, for example in the Capitolare Hall, one of the most important: The crucifixion with saints, strongly characterized by the melancholy of the Dominican thought, so that it is said that the same artist was moved to tears during his own realization. Passing through the part that was dedicated to the monastery you can also visit the little room in wich Savonarola or Cosimo the Old used to stay, so small and austere but perfect for the prayer of the monks. Among all the works in this area of the museum, you can admire The annunciation, The three Marie at the grave and the Noli me tangere, but also the precious relics of Florence and a very rare collection of bells. Also the room of the Hospice is exciting and suggestive – originally designed to accommodate the most modest pilgrims – in which you can visit The deposition, a work characterized by the Tuscan Hills, The triptych of St. Peter Martyr, who remembers Masaccio’s style or still, The universal judgment and The silver closet, a wonderful 4th century altarpiece that takes back the idea of the panels of Santa Maria Novella. In the room of the Sink – originally here the monks used to wash before a meal – you’ll admire other masterpieces of Beato Angelico, including The shaped crucifix, The Madonna with child and The boards of saints John and Benedetto. In the Church you’ll find San Marco’s altarpiece, one of the greatest masterpieces of Beato Angelico, built for the altar of the homonymous church and terribly ruined by a 8th century restoration which damaged its original beauty.
I’m sure it will be a big pleasure for all of you to get lost among the artworks of so rare beauty and value such as those by Angelico and by all those who have contribuited to the artistic heritage of this museum as, for example, the Domenico Ghirlandaio’s spectacular Last supper of the end of ‘500 or the incredible Library so rich in precious books.
The entire ticket to get to the San Marco Museum costs € 4,00, from Monday to Friday from 8:15 to 13:50, while on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 8:15 to 16:50, to book your visit, you can also ask for the Antiche Dimore Fiorentine, when you will reserve your unforgettable stay in the most beautiful city in the world.