The newly inaugurated Florentine civic museums depository at the Santa Maria Novella museum complex is to host over 4,500 works that are normally hidden from public view. Inaugurated on January 19, the 1,100 square metre space will be visitable on Saturdays (for a fee) starting in February, with free guided tours on January 26 and 27 launching the visits (Update: places are now booked out). 300 works are currently installed in the recently renovated rooms that are spread across three floors, with many more to join them over the coming months.
The works had formerly been held in storage due to a lack of adequate space for their display. The municipal artistic heritage includes thousands of works divided into collections, partly exhibited in the various civic museums of the city or preserved in the annexed warehouses and in temporary locations, awaiting a suitable place where they could be reunited and rearranged. They have now been allocated the large rooms in the Santa Maria Novella complex, allowing for a high quantity of artworks to be collected in optimal conservation conditions. The new depository was created as part of a project by the Technical Services and Culture and Sport Departments, in a redevelopment campaign of the rooms that were vacated in 2016 by the Carabinieri Marshals and Brigadiers School. The renovation cost around 2 million euro, with almost 40 thousand euro spent on transport and set-up. A further 200 thousand euro is expected to be spent in the next phases.
On the ground floor, a large vaulted room reaching 290 square metres houses the sculpture gallery, with platforms, bases and shelves for statues, busts and various stone materials. The storage areas on the first floor consist of 650 square metres across 9 rooms, with self-supporting metal structures and large double-sided sliding grilled panels on which paintings can be hung on both sides. In this first phase, around 300 works belonging to the Alberto Della Ragione collection and other 20th century collections are already arranged, with works by Fontana, Guttuso, Carrà, De Pisis, Mafai, Cagli and Morandi on show. They will be joined by the remaining part of the 20th century collection, 19th century works from the former Museo del Risorgimento, paintings by the Macchiaioli, the unexhibited works of the former Historical-Topographical Museum, and many more.
The space was inaugurated on January 19 by Mayor Dario Nardella, with Regional President Eugenio Giani, Deputy Mayor and Councilor for Culture Alessia Bettini, and the Councilor for Public Works Elisabetta Meucci in attendance. On the occasion, Nardella commented “It’s a real pity that in Italy, a country with such a high concentration of works of art, that so many artworks are locked in storage without citizens being able to admire them. Today, in Florence, we have achieved an ambitious goal: these spaces will contain almost 4,500 works from our deposits that will be enjoyed by citizens, scholars and tourists…This project forms part of the transformation of the Santa Maria Novella complex: we are working on the opening of the Italian Mundi museum, a café, the redevelopment of the internal courtyard, social housing apartments, and a new library. It’s a mix of cultural, social and civic functions that’s truly unique in the city.”
The visits organized by MUS.E will give the chance to discover the works as well as the ‘behind the scenes’ of a modern museum repository. The first guided tours will be held hourly from 2-4pm on January 26, and from 10am-midday on January 27, and will be free to the public (Update: places are now booked out). The visits will then be held for a payment on February 3, 10, 17, 24, March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, April 13, 27 and May 11, 25. Reservations are required. T: 055-2768224, email: email@example.com.