12 reasons to visit the Ivan Bruschi House Museum


Oonagh Stransky
May 10, 2016 - 10:30

In addition to being an eclectic cabinet of curiosities with more than 10,000 objets d’art and rarities, the Ivan Bruschi House Museum also hosts contemporary art exhibitions, live art restoration projects, alternative theatre performances, jazz concerts, readings and lectures. Over the past 12 months, under the stewardship of Lucio Misuri, this small museum in the historic center of Arezzo has become a destination for people seeking a dynamic and different cultural experience. Here’s a smattering of some current attractions for the very merry month of May.




Ivan Bruschi (1920–96) was a passionate antiquarian and devoted citizen of Arezzo. His frequent visits to Portobello Road market in London inspired him to fuse these two interests and establish, in 1968, Arezzo’s own antiques fair, the Fiera dell’Antiquariato. On his death in 1996, he bequeathed his complete collection of art, antiques and real estate to the Fondazione Ivan Bruschi for the creation of a museum that would continue to teach, share and generate interest in collecting art and antiques. After a complete inventory of his holdings by specialists from the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and significant renovations to the buildings, Ivan Bruschi House Museum was opened to the public. The eclectic and fun Fiera dell’Antiquariato continues to bring vitality to Arezzo on the first Sunday of the month and the Saturday that precedes it.


16 rooms, 4 floors, 2 interconnected buildings, 1 panoramic rooftop terrace. A gallery directly adjacent to the Basilica of San Francesco. Arezzo's Ivan Bruschi House Museum is perfect for a daytrip, weekend getaway or private event.



Currently until May 12. 10am–7pm, closed on Mondays

Continuing the museum’s commitment to the dialogue between contemporary and ancient art, as exemplified by its participation in Icastica 2015, and running until May 12: Joseph Beuys: Gestures, Actions, and Iconic Documents of the Mythical German Artist 30 Years After his Death.” Curated by art historian Fabio Migliorati in collaboration with Montrasio Arte, this exhibit brings together photographs and work by socially progressive performance artist of the Fluxus movement, Joseph Beuys.




FREE / May 21 at 9.30pm + 10.30pm / Museum open until midnight!

Samuele Boncompagni and the Noidellescarpediverse theater troupe will present a performance written expressly for the opening of the “Grand Tour” exhibit. This performance is free and part of the Tuscan-wide initiative, Amico Museo 2016.


May 22–June 26, 10am–7pm, closed on Mondays

How did the Grand Tour affect our understanding and appreciation of Italy? How did foreigners perceive and record their visits? “Rome and its Countryside: Objects, Images and Texts from the Grand Tour” explores the 18th-century upper-class custom of traveling through Italy as a way to enhance social status, finish one’s education, acquire new cultural experiences and rack up some radical adventures. All in very good taste, of course. The works on exhibit all come from private collectors.


Galleria Ivan Bruschi, piazza S. Francesco
June 11–September 4, 10am–10pm, open every day

After a year of renovations, the museum’s Gallery in piazza S. Francesco re-opens with a shimmering three-part exhibit titled Shine On: The Influence of Piero della Francesca, which reflects all the brilliance of the great master. On show: contemporary art by Francesco Pignatelli liberally inspired by Piero; 12 precious jewels handcrafted by goldsmith Giulio Manfredi similar to those in the Legend of the True Cross; and a virtual reality projection, combined with original music and permeated with fragrances, which takes visitors on a unique sensorial journey through the frescoes of Piero della Francesca.


May 28, 5.30pm, followed by light refreshments. Cost: 7 euro

Samuele Boncompagni and the Noidellescarpediverse theater troupe will perform a selection of monologues written from the perspective of various works of art (or their creators) that are part of the permanent collection on display at the Ivan Bruschi House Museum.




For the past year, The Tuscan Times Book Club has been meeting once a month at the Ivan Bruschi House Museum to talk about literature and life. Here’s your chance to get involved! On May 19 at 6.30pm, we’ll be celebrating the arrival of spring with a potluck apericena on the rooftop terrace and discussing Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin. Find out more about it and how to set up your own club by contacting [email protected].




Tucked away in a quiet part of the museum is a special area reserved for eight antique dealers who have entered into a special agreement with Ivan Bruschi House Museum. Masterpieces for sale are on view in exchange for visibility, a climate-controlled environment and museum security. Interested buyers—or just browsers—are welcome to visit during museum hours (with staff assistance), but dealers are always willing to schedule an appointment for after-hours negotiations. Some of the masterpieces on display include the 14th-century gold leaf Madonna Sarti by Andrea di Nerio and a 14th-century crucifix identified as work done by Giotto as a young man. Interested dealers can contact the museum for information on how to get on the waiting list for a space.






This special ivory container was made by the Bottega degli Embriachi craftsmen in Venice in the mid 1400s. In actual fact, the Embriachi family came from 12th-century Ghibellines from the Oltrarno in Florence (they were previously known as the Ubriachi or Obriachi), who made a name for themselves as usurers. Detested by Dante for making money from money and thereby going against the law of nature, the Ubriachi family earned a mention in Inferno XVII, 61–63, when Dante refers to a usurer wandering through hell wearing a family crest of a white goose on a red background.





Try saying that five times fast! This beautiful Bucchero drinking vessel comes from the Etruscan town of Crustumerium in Lazio and was made in the 7th century BC. The glossy black surface was achieved through the unique “reduction” method in which it was fired.





This delicate sculpture, which is only about 10 centimeters high, dates back to the late 4th century BC and is a perfect example of a “Tanagrina,” a sculpture of a female found in the town of Tanagra, Greece. Coated with a liquid white slip before being fired, the sculptures were often painted in naturalistic tints with watercolors. The beauty of this devilish lady lies in the details of how the sculptor rendered the fabric so that you can detect the shape of her body beneath. Another Tanagrina statuette can be found at the Louvre in Paris.





This winged beast, made of wrought iron in the 19th century, would have been used as a gutter to convey runoff rain on an important civic palace or cathedral. While Greek, Etruscan, Roman and Egyptian architects used lions as their strong animal of choice for drainpipes, European churches started using monstrous or fantastic beasts in the 12th century so that people would be visually reminded of the dangers outside the Church… and the protection they would find within.


The Ivan Bruschi House Museum is open every day (except Monday) from 10am to 7pm and is located at the top of corso Italia in the historic center of town, close to the Duomo, piazza Grande, and just a 15-minute walk from the train station. Parking at Parcheggio Pietri gives visitors access to the escalators that lead directly to the Duomo.

Telephone: 0575/354126
Email: [email protected]
For a complete calendar of events see their website.
Free thematic tours are available in English and Italian with appointment.
Entrance costs 5 euro; children up to age six, tour operators and diversely abled visitors 3 euro.  

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