Itinerary of ceramics and Medici villas
Drive toward Montelupo Fiorentino, the capital of Tuscan Ceramics.
Stop there to visit the famous Montelupo Ceramics Museum and the Museo Artistico Industriale Bitossi.
The Montelupo Fiorentino Ceramics Museum, recently opened within the MMAB (Montelupo Museum Archive and Library), boasts two floors of artefacts and includes a collection of ceramics ranging from the 14th to the 18th century. The corridors of both floors offer a chronological reconstruction of the history of pottery as an art and an itinerary for blind people with tactile tiles and captions in Braille. The eight rooms, on the other hand, each have a specific theme: medieval and Renaissance dining, excavations, the workshop, collectables (including the famous “Montelupo red”, a tiled basin decorated with grotesques, dated to 1509 and signed on the back as LO (workshop of Lorenzo di Pietro Sartori), exports, commissions, apothecaries and a room with animals and flowers dedicated entirely to children. The Museum also has an itinerary for children with interactive activities for all ages. Workshops and educational activities for children and adults are also organised to educate people about the ancient craft traditions. Watch the introductory video to the Ceramics Museum including an impossible interview with Baccio da Montelupo. For those who wish to know more about the ancient craft traditions, laboratories and learning activities are organized for children and adults.
The Museo Artistico Industriale Bitossi (Bitossi Artistic Industrial Museum), which opened in 2003, is an industrial museum that exhibits the artistic ceramics productions of the twentieth century, with special focus on the years from 1950 to 1980, the period when Aldo Londi was artistic director. The MAIB is divided into two rooms located in a 1929 building, the historical site of the Bitossi factory. The Museum organises temporary thematic exhibitions mainly on the factory’s huge historical production heritage, with displays of collections and unique pieces created over the years not only by Londi but also by architects and designers who have worked with the company. On occasion of the week of Industrial Culture organised by the Italian association “Museimpresa” each year, the exhibition will be renewing its theme and installation. The ceramics on display form part of the heritage stored in the Bitossi Industrial Archive.
Drive toward Villa Ambrogiana in Montelupo, and admire one of the Medici’s villas.
LOCATED ON THE LEFT BANK OF THE ARNO RIVER, ALONG THE RIVER ROUTE THAT LEADS FROM FLORENCE TO LIVORNO, VILLA AMBROGIANA WAS ONCE A THRIVING HUNTING RESIDENCE OF THE MEDICI FAMILY AND IS IMMERSED IN THE AMBROGIANA PARK.
In its oldest nucleus, the villa was purchased by Ferdinando I de Medici , who in 1587 began the restoration work, entrusted first to Raffaele Pagni and then to Gherardo Menichini, doubling the corner towers and thus giving it a regular geometric structure. There have been numerous renovations over the centuries, including the raising of a floor, as can be deduced from the comparison of the lunette by Giusto Utens of 1599 with the painting by Giuseppe Zocchi of 1744. The park-garden that reached the bed of the river, with a mannerist cave with water features, the work of Giovan Battista Ferrucci known as Tadda, decorated with bas-reliefs with fluvial, faunal and floral subjects.
From 1884 until the beginning of 2017 it was the site of a criminal asylum , then a judicial psychiatric hospital. After the closure of the OPG, the villa returned to the availability of the state property. The Municipality of Montelupo has taken the structure under concession for a limited period of time, in order to make it known to tourists and to let citizens visit it.
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