The Archaeological Museum Garden (della Crocetta)

Tessa Matteini

Built between 1619 and 1620, the garden and the palace of the Crocetta were developed from a pre-existing Medici lodge and a lot belonging to the Spedale degli Innocenti, an orphanage.
Gran Duke Cosimo II commissioned Giulio Parigi, the same project designer who had very recently designed his ‘neoplatonic’ expansion of Boboli garden with the Viotolone, the Isola di Venere and the Labirinti complex. 

The palace was to be the home of Cosimo’s sister, Maria Maddalena, afflicted with physical problems and obliged to go to religious functions in the nearby SS. Annunziata Church through a skywalk constructed to protect her from curious eyes.

in 1880 the palace became home to the National Archaeological Museum of Florence, created to house and recompose the collections of the pre-existing Egyptian and Etruscan Museums.
Between 1899 and 1904, the garden was thus transformed into an antiquarium, under the direction of Milani with the technical support of the architect Giuseppe Castellucci, for the exhibition of the collections and various sepulchres from necropoli in the Etruscan territory: Vetulonia, Orvieto, Casale Marittimo, Volterra, Veio.

Milani’s project can be inserted into a particularly fertile period for archaeological garden study, influenced by Ruskin’s ideas on ruins and proto-ecology. Of the same era is Giacomo Boni’s experimentation on Roman archaeological sites, while Gelasio Caetani’s early work on the garden of Ninfa was slightly later. 

In addition, La Crocetta is very near the site of one of the first archaeological gardens, the fifteenth-century open-air collection of “anticaglie” (old junk) created by Lorenzo dei Medici near the lodge of San Marco.

Timetable and address

Piazza Santissima Annunziata 9b

  • Thursday from 2 pm to 7 pm
  • Friday, Saturday and first Sunday of the month from 8.30 am to 2 pm

Events in the gardens

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