The Maps Room at Palazzo Vecchio has reopened after a year of restoration.
Located on the third floor of Florence’s City Hall, visitors will once again be able to admire the impressive display of maps that adorn the cabinets within the room. Restoration of the two metre-wide, 16th-century globe is nearing completion. With the exception of some 1950s maintenance, neither the globe nor the maps have been restored using modern techniques before.
The maps consist of 53 oil paintings on wood, which have been inserted into the doors of the cabinets that line the walls. Included are detailed representations of Europe, Africa, Asia and parts of the 16th-century New World, now known as America, in the way that they were understood by cartographers at the time. The restoration process involved removing the paintings from their fixtures and restoring them in the adjoining room. However, the impressive globe, also displayed in the room, is too large to be moved and has therefore remained within the room throughout its restoration process. The reopening of this area to the public means the remainder of the process will be visible to visitors. In addition to these restorations, more general works have taken place to improve the supporting structure of the attic, with new flooring, maintenance on the cabinets and the installation of a new LED lighting system.
The works cost 500,000 euro and were made possible by the donations of Friends of Florence as part of the Florence I Care program, which aims to create partnerships with individual philanthropists to aid restorations of local cultural assets. This particular project was funded by the Giorgi Family Foundation.
Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, commented, “We are reopening a precious room of the museum to the public, a treasure trove of beauty that has always stirred the curiosity of visitors for the accuracy of the maps that depict the whole world as it was known at the time of Cosimo I, and for the magnificent globe at the center, which is one of the biggest and oldest to survive almost completely intact. Thanks to the generosity of Friends of Florence, who have always been at our side for the enhancement of our artistic heritage, we can now return to this room and see it restored to its former glory.”