An Egyptian Meseum in Florence? Who knew?

The Egyptian Museum of Florence

Maria Cristina Guidotti
November 16, 2006

The Egyptian Museum of Florence (Museo Egizio), second in Italy only to its famous counterpart in Turin, is located inside the city’s Archaeological Museum. Its first group of Egyptian relics has been present in Florence since the 18th century as part of the Medici collections. During the 19th century, this collection was greatly increased by Leopoldo II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who bought selected works and sponsored a scientific expedition to Egypt in 1828-29. The expedition was led by hieroglyphics decipherer Jean François Champollion and Egyptologist Ippolito Rosellini, from Pisa. Several objects collected during the expe-dition include the XVIII dynasty chariot, the pillar and relief with the goddess Maat from the tomb of Sethy I, the funerary equip-ment belonging to King Taharqa’s daughter’s wet-nurse, and the Fayum portrait of a woman.

The Museum was founded in 1855 and reorganised by Egyptologist Ernesto Schiaparelli in 1880. Schiaparelli greatly increased the Florentine Egyptian collections, thanks to his excavations and purchases made in Egypt before moving to Turin.

The last group of relics received by the Egyptian Museum of Florence was made possible thanks to donations from private citizens and scientific institutions. Extremely remarkable relics were a very welcome addition, donated by the Papyrological Institute of Florence. These relics, found in Egypt between 1934 and 1939, include the rich Coptic Textiles Collection.

The Egyptian Museum of FlorenceVia della Colonna, 38 (near Piazza S.S. Anunziata)055-23575Tickets: 4.13 EuroTuesday-Friday 8:30-3:00; Saturdays and Holidays 8:30-2:00; Monday 2:00-4:00

Jane’s notes: The Egyptian Museum is on the first floor of the Palazzo della Crocetta, built for Archduchess Maria Maddalena d’Austria in 1620 to an unusual, cross-shaped design. It contains over 14,000 exhibits, its Coptic textile collection being one of the most important in the world. Each of the rooms, filled with items from now-extinct cultures, is rich in the history of the human race, and provides an informative ‘walk’ through time, beginning with the Paleolithic Age (prehistoric Egypt), which began 2 million years ago. The Archeological Museum was hard hit by the 1966 flood, but since has been fully restored.

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