The National Archaeological Museum is situated in the gorgeous Renaissance background of the Santissima Annunziata square and it’s one of the most important treasures of the city, which the tourist doesn’t always pay attention to.
It happens regularly in many cities of art of great tourist attraction, which some institutions of remarkable interest and minor monuments risk to be excluded from the itineraries that inevitably prefer the most famous museums and monuments.
However, the visit to the Florentine Archaeological Museum shouldn’t miss inside the planning of the visit of the city, even if brief, e this due to several causes: often we tend to forget that the Tuscan state capital is a very ancient city, and that from its territory and the surroundings emerged very ancient traces of human attendance.
The museum institution occupy the rooms of a historical seventeenth-century palace, known as Palazzo della Crocetta (it derives from a monastery which rose up in the vicinity), and it was built to house the residence of Maria Maddalena de’ Medici, who was the sister of the grand duke Cosimo II.
The opening of the museum and its gradual arrangement in its current location dates back to the last decades of the 1800s.
The collections held in the various rooms are very important for their archaeological and cultural value; the finds of the Etruscan and the Roman civilization come principally from the Tuscany’s archaeological sites, but there are also other sections of great interest about the other civilizations in the Mediterranean basin.
It’s impossible to let you know, in few lines, the abundance of the collections which are kept in the museum, so we will just try to offer you a starting point in preparation for the visit.
First of all, we suggest you the Etruscan section, which keep some among the greatest artistic masterpieces of this civilization, like, for example, the famous bronze sculpture called the Chimera d’Arezzo (which is maybe the most famous artwork of the museum), the bronze statue called dell’Arringatore, the pair of Seianti sarcophagus, coming from Chiusi, the Amazzoni sarcophagus, coming from Tarquinia and richly painted, a wonderful ivory situla of the VII century B.C. called Situla della Pania, and other hundreds finds, with specific reference to the grave field.
The Roman section is as rich as the Etruscan one, and it hosts important artworks, among which we suggest the Idolino di Pesaro bronze, which is likely a copy from the Greek original one, a bronze head representing the Treboniano Gallo emperor, the sculpture called Minerva di Arezzo etcetera.
The museum even houses a very rich section of Greek finds, among which we recommend the so-called Vaso François, which was unearthed in the XIX century in an Etruscan grave around Chiusi, a very beautiful – but mutilated – bronze body, and two Kouroi of the VI century B.C., some extremely rare objects in an Italian museum, a big Hellenistic horse head and other artworks.
The museum boasts of the Egyptian section which, thanks to its richness and preciousness, it’s second only to the Egyptian Museum in Turin.
We can’t overlook neither the testimonies of other civilizations such as the Paleoveneti and Villanoviani ones, with their numerous finds.