After six months of intense work, the Palazzo Davanzati Museum has been completely rearranged and renovated. Having been closed from March until September, visitors now have the opportunity to return to the medieval building and see it in a new light.
The Palazzo Davanzati Museum, which had not been modified since 2009, has rethought its visitor experience, adding newly displayed artifacts of high artistic and historical value and changing the layout to make the tour more fluid. Indeed, the changes mean that the rooms are arranged in a more rational chronological order, as the first floor is dedicated to the 14th and 15th centuries and the second floor to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. This allows visitors to journey through time as they ascend, better demonstrating the evolution of styles across eras. Also included in the renovations are new audiovisual supports and explanatory panels, as well as an energy-saving LED lighting system designed to enhance the extraordinary and unique collection.
One highlight is a section of the Guicciardini Quilt, known as one of the earliest surviving quilts in the world. The textile masterpiece from the 14th century depicts scenes from the story of Tristan and Isolde, and it is being displayed for the first time since 2010. The other known section of the quilt is displayed in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. A video is also projected onto the wall alongside the quilt in order to explain the story to children.
Furthermore, a breathtaking collection of lace and textiles is shown in a new exhibition hall on the third floor. Here, visitors can marvel at an exhibition curated by Marina Carmignani, an expert in ancient textiles, presenting artifacts dedicated to women and their role in society between the 19th and 20th centuries.
Changes also include new rooms dedicated to antiques dealer Elia Volpi, which show the palace in the early 20th century, alongside furnishings collected by the antiquarian, drawings he created and artifacts belonging to his family.
The renovation project was made possible thanks to loans from the Italian Ministry of Culture, amounting to nearly 600,000 euro. The new layout was curated by the head of the museum, Daniele Rapino, under the guidance of the director of the Bargello Museums, Paola D’Agostino.
How to visit the Palazzo Davanzati Museum
Originally home to the wealthy Davizzi family of merchants and bankers, this 14th-century palazzo and its impressive façade look out over the adjacent piazza, once populated by medieval case-torri (tower houses). Palazzo Davanzati is an amalgamation of these case-torri and other properties belonging to the Davizzi, though it takes its name from another family, the Davanzati, who purchased the building in the late 16th century.
The Palazzo Davanzati Museum is open from 8.15am-1.50pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 1.15-16.50pm on Fridays, Saturdays and specified Sundays.