Goldsmithing in Florence

Goldsmith worksops on the Ponte Vecchio Florence
Goldsmith worksops on the Ponte Vecchio Florence

Goldsmithing in Florence was first practiced in monasteries and abbeys during the middle age, with the production of sacred objects such as reliquaries, crosses, chalices…

The Republic of Florence introduced its own currency in 1252, the Gold Florin, gaining a significant role in the whole Europe. This led to the development of a successful goldsmithing that culminated during the Renaissance, when it was common for painters and sculptors to start their apprentices in jewelry workshops. Still to day the art of goldsmithing is very dynamic in Florence, in particular on Ponte Vecchio.

One of the first extraordinary example of the art of goldsmithing in Florence is the Treasure that was commissioned in 1366. It was assigned to a range of participants and famous goldsmiths, such as Leonardo di ser Giovanni, Michele di Monte, Tommaso Ghiberti, Matteo di Giovanni, Bernardo Cennini, Antonio del Pollaiolo e Andrea del Verrocchio, worked on the creation of this masterpiece, that required more than 100 years of work. 400 kg of silver and 1050 enabled plates. Today, this unique goldsmithing example is preserved, inside a showcase, in the Treasury Room of the Opera Duomo Museum.

Goldsmith's masterpiece The Treasure Museo del Opera del Duomo Florence
Goldsmith’s masterpiece The Treasure Museo del Opera del Duomo Florence

Later on, during the 15th and 16th century, many of the sculptors, artists and architects of the Renaissance often had their initial training in goldsmith studios. Brunelleschi, Donatello, Ghiberti, Botticelli and Verocchio (Leonardo da Vinci’s master) are just a handful of the many who began as goldsmiths before creating the Renaissance’s greatest buildings and most memorable sculptures and paintings. In 1565, Benvenuto Cellini, the sculptor of the “Perseus and the head of Medusa” on Piazza della Signoria, wrote his autobiography, in which he describes techniques, tools and materials used at that time, a book still used by many jewelry artisans today.

Benvenuto Cellini Perseus and Medusa Florence
Benvenuto Cellini Perseus and Medusa Florence

At the end of the 16th century Under Gran Duke Francesco 1er, the goldsmithing workshops were opened in the Uffizzi, but it is in 1593 that his successor Ferdinando 1er ordered the Ponte Vecchio to be entirely devoted to gold shops and laboratories In the 19th century a little fountain with the bust of Benvenuto Cellini by the sculptor Raffaello Romanelli was placed on the terrace in the middle of the bridge. Still today, Italy, and Tuscany is one of the top designers and producers of fine gold jewelry in the world.

Staying in Palazzo Larderel, you will be able to discover and admire the past and current talented artisan goldsmiths in Florence.

Chianti in Tuscany: landscapes, art, wines and gastronomy

Chianti hills and vineyards in autumn, view from Villa le Barone’s tennis court

Are you sure you know Chianti? It is a blessed region of Tuscany: landscapes, art, wines and gastronomy! You have to come and come back again and again to discover all its facets. Villa le Barone has the chance to be in the heart of this corner of paradise!

Indeed there is a lot to discover in Chianti: sublime hillside landscapes, exquisite wines, authentic small villages, wonderful artistic heritage, and delectable gastronomy.

The stunning landscapes change with the seasons: tender green of the fields and sunny yellow of the broom in spring, yellow of the sunflowers in summer, ochres and the reds of the vines and vineyards in autumn. And, along the hills slopes, cypresses and olive trees, symbol of Tuscany! Pure air, perfumes, birdsongs, and church bells sounds guaranteed! Chianti is full of small churches, abbeys, hamlets and medieval villages, to be discovered along the roads.

Along the Chianti roads in spring : brooms and hills

Gastronomy is one of the pleasure of the lifestyle in Chianti , with the “antipasti” composed of various hors d’oeuvres, with the “bistecca alla fiorentina”, with the pecorino cheese, with the fresh and tasty vegetables and fruits, … And of course, there are the wines of Chianti, with a winemaking tradition that dates back to the 13th century. Most wineries and caves can be visited and wine tastings are a must!

Villa le Barone lies in the middle of the Chianti paradise… whether you are a walker, a cyclist, or driving a car, you will find at the Villa all the information you need to discover the many facets of Chianti!

The Stibbert museum in Florence

Banquet in the 19th century Exhibition Stibbert museum Florence Italy

The Stibbert Museum in Florence has to be visited, with its unique and extraordinary collection of armors and weapons from the 15th to the 19th century. A temporary exhibition on banquets, from the Renaissance to the 20th century is currently on display. A stay in the Palazzo Larderel Via Tornabuoni in Florence is the ideal occasion to make this exceptional visit.

The Stibbert Museum in Florence has been created in the late 19th century by Frédérick Stibbert, an Anglo Italian collector of European and Japanese armors and weapons. You can also visit his apartment, as it was in the 19th century, with its furniture, its paintings, its tableware … And of course, his collection , so original , of armors and weapons: caparisoned horses, cuirasses, helmets, shields, swords… One can even admire the exceptional costume worn by Napoleon at his coronation as King of Italy in Milan in 1805: a green attire, with beautiful embroidered patterns palms, laurels and bees, ears of wheat, oak leaves … The pair of shoes worn by Napoleon during this ceremony is also presented.

Banquet in the 17th century Stibbert museum Florence Italy

Currently, the Stibbert Museum presents a temporary exhibition on “banquets”, from the Renaissance until the 20th century, « Conviti e Banchetti ».Since the Renaissance, to celebrate special occasions such as victories, weddings, or other exceptional events, the best architects and artists were called to prepare the decor of those sumptuous feasts. The Italian princely families called upon all their talents to create decorations that we can still admire in certain paintings of the Renaissance. The artists were always competing with new types of dishes and tableware, while the cooks were racing with the sculptors to prepare meals and dishes with wonderful appearance!

And, after this fascinating visit of the museum, you can go for a walk in the romantic English garden, with its temples, fountains, caves, and return to the Palazzo Larderel to relax on the terrace.

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