A favorite museum of the Florentines
Frederick Stibbert was a wealthy, Anglo-Italian art collector who used his inherited fortune to turn his home into a museum in the 19th century. Today, the Stibbert has one of the quirkiest collections you'll find in a city with the most classic art. Visiting is an intimate experience: you're required to go through the mansion with a guide, and what's more, you're likely to have only two or three other people with you on your tour. I came here by the urging of one of my Florentine professors, who called the isolated museum her favorite in all of Florence. If you can afford to skip the coveted portraiture of the Vasari Corridor of the Uffizi, the Stibbert Museum has a vast portrait collection, all hung in the mansion's grand foyer. The collection is unique in that each portrait was chosen for the specific costumery depicted on each subject. Garb was Stibbert's thing: the rest of the museum is notable for its exotic armory (Islamic and Japanese), and for having the outfit that Napoleon wore to his 1805 coronation in Milan as King of Italy. A trip to the Stibbert is a historical home tour as well, complete with a 19th century ballroom, a smoking room with exquisite tile, and an Egyptian-templed garden and pond. It's an eccentric, off-track museum, but a cool excursion and worth escaping the city and tourists to see some rare stuff. You can walk there from the heart of Florence (it's doable but long), but there are also buses that will bring you nearer to this part of town.
By Juliette San Fillipo, AFAR Staff
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