A treasure re-opened
Volunteers staff long-shuttered museum
Orsanmichele is the most Florentine monument in Florence. Palazzo Vecchio is a town hall, like the town halls that are found in many other cities. Santa Maria del Fiore is a cathedral, just like the ones in every other city. But there is only one Orsanmichele and it is in Florence. Only in Florence could a monument like this one be born; a monument that is part church, part granary; a monument that serves both religious and civil life; a monument that exalts both faith and work'.
These words, spoken by then mayor of Florence, Piero Bargellini, in a 1956 speech, are on the back of the tickets that give visitors free entrance to the newly re-opened Orsanmichele museum, located on the second and third floors of the church.
Lacking personnel, the museum, which showcases the original sculptures that once adorned the Orsanmichele's exterior tabernacles, has been closed for the past four years. Now, thanks to volunteers from the Amici dei musei fiorentini association, the museum opens its doors every Monday, from 10am to 5pm.
‘It's a gift for all-both residents and tourists. For this we thank the Amici dei musei fiorentini,' said the museum's director, Antonio Goldoni.
‘We will work to control the visitor influx, but we will also answer visitors' questions and help out in any way we can. We decided to open the museum on Mondays because the city's other museums are closed and we hope to attract more visitors', says volunteer and Florentine entrepreneur Roberto Santini.
The Florentine, (issue no. 108/2009 / September 24, 2009)