There is such pleasure in finding a museum that feels like it was just waiting for you alone to discover it. The long lines outside the most popular museums can be off-putting when you’re looking for some art and culture, and locals know where to find it. While no trip to Florence is complete without seeing the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia Gallery and Pitti Palace, there are some well-kept secrets you can’t afford to miss out on.
The Stibbert museum is one such treasure. Nestled in the spectacular gardens of Villa Stibbert, it was established by the collector Frederick Stibbert (1838-1906) whose home was within these elaborate gardens. The museum hosts 50,000 objects including weapons, suits of armour from the Middle East and Japan, paintings, costumes, furniture pieces and paintings dating from the 16th-19th century, and even the cloak that Napoleon wore when he was crowned. It’s great for kids too with a space dedicated to interactive learning. Located just outside the city centre, this lesser-known jewel is well worth finding. Pack a picnic and make the most of the green haven and exotic gardens while you’re there.
If you want to really see how Florentines lived before tourists took over the streets, head to another lesser-known gem, Museo di Palazzo Davanzati. Renovated in the early 1900s by an antiquarian, it’s true to 1450s decor. The historically accurate elegant Florentine home is like stepping back into history and immersing yourself in life as it once was. And of course, you must check out the most famous Florentine fashion museum there is!
The Museo Salvatore Ferragamo is much-loved by the stylish locals as they visit this renowned shoemaker’s museum and explore his most iconic works. From the models made for Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn, you’ll get a true sense of Italian style.