The Stibbert Museum Garden

Emanuela Morelli

Frederick Stibbert was a polyhedral figure typical of nineteenth-century Anglo-Florentine society, curious about far away worlds and cultures different from his own. He was an amateur painter, a generous patron of the arts, but more than anything, a passionate art collector, particularly of weaponry of any sort from any place, exotic or not.

At age 21, he came into an immense inheritance which he used over his lifetime to realize his dream: the building of a place able to suitably contain his collector’s items.

Born in Florence of a Florentine mother and an English father, he terminated his studies, rather turbulently, in England. When he returned as an adult, he started the transformation of Villa Mezzeri at Montughi that his mother had bought in 1849. A few years later, he also acquired the adjoining Villa Rosselini property and in 1859 charged Giuseppe Poggi and numerous other craftsmen with the task of renovating the whole complex.

The park was laid out according to typical romantic-style precepts, exhibiting curiosity for the exotic with esoteric and Masonic allusions, a fondness for fake ruins and newly-created evocative naturalistic scenes.
Among the various grottos, cascades, fake ruins, busts and statues, it is worth mentioning the lakeside Egyptian temple complete with sphinxes and lions and a Swiss cabin, the boathouse called Venezia, the Hellenistic temple with a colorful majolic cupola at the northern entrance to the park, a Venetian Scene, and the loggia with pointed arches and Venetian-style Late Gothic columns.

In 1909, as requested in his will, the City founded Museo Stibbert. Over the years, the museum and its park have been visited by numerous illustrious people such as Queen Victoria, Oscar Wilde and Gabriele d’Annunzio.

Timetable and address

Via Federico Stibbert 26, Florence

  • April/October 8 am – 7 pm
  • Novembre/March 8 am – 5 pm
  • Thursday closed

Events in the garden

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