What is the Family Museum?
Palazzo Vecchio Family Museum is one of the most important of Florence’s Museums: it is located in Palazzo Vecchio, which is also known as Palazzo della Signoria, one of the city’s best known buildings, and something of an iconic tourist image, as it is one of Florence’s symbolic monuments.
During the sixteenth century the young ducal couple who governed Florence, Cosimo I de’ Medici and his wife Eleonora of Toledo, daughter of the Spanish Viceroy of Naples, moved in to this palace, which had been built between the late 13th century and the early 14th century to accommodate the various governing bodies of the city.
From 1540 until his death in 1574, Cosimo I de’ Medici never ceased building inside the walls of his sumptuous new palace, which is now the Palazzo Vecchio Museum.
In 2000 Palazzo Vecchio Family Museum was set up in Cosimo I’s palace, occupying a number of spaces in the Quartieri Monumentali with the creation of the following facilities:
– two small Museum Theatres, one known as Bia and Garcia’s Story-Telling Room for younger visitors (from 3 years old) and the other known as Renaissance Civilization in Florence for older visitors (from 8 to 88 years old);
– a large Multimedia Room;
– a studio set aside for painting activities.
In addition to these spaces the Museo dei Ragazzi also extends to the Palazzo Vecchio’s Quartieri Monumentali and offers a number of different and highly original types of tour: Secret Passages, or a guided tour by the court painter and architect Giorgio Vasari, the versatile craftsman commissioned by Duke Cosimo to renovate his palace and much else besides…
In the Museum Theatres – which are one of The Family Museum’s major innovations – short plays are staged with the help of audience participation, most of which concern life in the court of Cosimo I de’ Medici and Eleonora di Toledo. From these plays visitors will gain an understanding of: the language of fashion; the political strategies of Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici: the female condition; the education of children; the culture of the body and health in the 16th-century Medici court…
For children the family museum offers tales that may be told either by the museum’s mice (which have lived in the palace for centuries and know all its secrets), by the wise turtle with a sail, by a parrot who is crazy about perfumes or by Athena’s owl… It is also possible to make a small fresco using the same techniques that were practiced in the Renaissance and take away your artwork with you at the end of the session, or discover the marvels of perspective or investigate – in the Multimedia Room – the rules governing gestural expressiveness in art or the secrets of Renaissance cookery.
For adults the family museum offers activities and guided tours of the Quartieri Monumentali in Palazzo Vecchio.