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Unusual Florence: the lesser known museums and the unmissable gardens with unique city views

September in Florence means many things: we come back from summer holidays (in Italy we traditionally leave in August), schools and university courses start again, the city begins to change colors and purifies itself from the heat. Tourists and Florentine families appreciate this month to discover the attractions making us famous in the world.

I personally love September and the sparkling air blowing in the streets, I think it’s the perfect time to walk around in the historic city center. And to fall in love every time with a different, hidden corner. Or a museum far from the bustle, nestled in the urban landscape, almost invisible to cursory glances.

Our city hides many gems of art, collections of unexpected beauty to admire without haste. Today, come with me in the alternative Florence museums, ideal to visit in September.


The Stibbert Museum and its weapons


On top of a gentle hill away from the center of Florence, a refined villa became a museum thanks to the generosity of an intellectual, Frederick Stibbert. Son of an English soldier and a Tuscan woman, he was born in Florence but was educated in England. He came back here in his early twenties and decided to reside in a villa, built by great Florentine artists.

The Stibbert Museum, a city property at the death of the owner, today collects fifty thousand objects, the result of Stibbert's two greatest passions, travel and collecting. The most fascinating section is the one dedicated to the armory: if you love armors and fights you will have pleasant surprises. White weapons and firearms are set next to each other in the European and Islamic armories of the museum. Costumes, porcelains and refined paintings complete the exhibition tour, in itineraries immersed in History and Beauty.

Leaving the museum, take a stroll in the Stibbert garden, designed as a nineteenth-century English garden, with small temples and neoclassical architectures, caves and fountains. Have fun catching the unusual and characteristic details ... there are plenty of them.


An art gallery inside the blue: the Bardini Museum


Like the Stibbert Museum, the Bardini Museum owes its origin to the passion of an Italian collector. Stefano Bardini, a passionate of arts and a painter, soon discovered his real vocation: trading ancient objects and artifacts.

If you love Greek and Roman civilizations and you are fascinated by non-traditional spaces, this museum should stand on top of things to see in Florence.

The building is located in San Niccolò district, in the Oltrarno area, but it isn’t don't easy to find: if there were no signs, you would have some problems to identify it. The palace itself boasts a fascinating history, it was built in 1237 as a church and convent to celebrate the peace between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. In 1775 it was converted into the Palazzo dè Mozzi, then acquired by Bardini.

The collector gathered here ancient objects, artifacts, sculptures and paintings, all set in an ideal scene: the intense blue walls bring out the whiteness of the marble, items from different times and styles combine with unnatural but perfect harmony.

Do not expect a canonical museum: take your time to recognize aesthetic languages ​​and guess the chronology of the works. It will be a new and pleasant experience, I promise you.

Even here ... leave yourself some time at the end of the visit! Stroll around the Bardini Garden, one of the most evocative and well-kept in Florence. The city view is extraordinary.



The Horne Museum, a house-museum


In Via de ’Benci, very close to the lively Piazza Santa Croce, lies a residence, vestal of the Florentine Renaissance. The Horne Museum is the precious legacy of Herbert Percy Horne, London architect and intellectual who chose Florence as his home in 1911. The building he purchased was restored taking inspiration from a noble Renaissance residence.

At his death, the furnishing of the rooms was completed, according to Horne's desires. The current collection contains paintings, sculptures, ceramics, goldsmith's and everyday objects, furniture and fabrics. The entire heritage dates back to the period between 1300 and 1500.

Visiting this museum is a special experience: you are in a house, an environment embodying the memory of repeated gestures, an intimate routine, a rarefied atmosphere. But at the same time, you walk slowly in different eras, among artifacts of incredible charm. A journey into the Florentine Renaissance, with a British touch… irresistible!


Natural History, the family-sized museum


The Museum of Natural History of Florence is one of the oldest in the world: most of its collections are due to the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo. He sponsored the sciences and the Specola Museum, whose collection of fossils was the first nucleus of the current Museum of Natural History. The other "father" of the museum was Filippo Nesti, a Florentine scholar who gave a complete overview of fossil vertebrates.

The current exhibition is a plunge into the entire Italian paleontological history, an encyclopaedia following evolutionary criteria: from the first micro-organisms of 3.5 billion years ago to the appearance of mammals. I like to come back here from time to time, I believe that the passing of the ages and the changes of our planet - and of living species - is a warning to keep in mind, because the journey up to now has been complicated and millennial.

This museum is particularly suitable for families with children, who remain captivated by fossils and rocks never seen before. If you travel with the little ones, take half a day to slowly enjoy a museum interesting for all ages but especially for them, usually intolerant of "traditional" museums.

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