Walking through the historic gardens of Florence, feels as if you are in a Medici fairy tale. I have noticed that Florentines maintain their piazza’s, properties and public areas with pride. Just as the Medici family supported the great artists of the Renaissance, today the local artisans are still appreciated and supported. Walking around the Oltrano, artists’ works are displayed everywhere, including in the center of the Boboli Gardens, within the sight of Palazzo Pitti.
A brief history lesson about the Boboli gardens:
In the 15th Century, the Borgolo family laid out the fields and gardens. In 1418, Luca Pitti bought the property, which later drove him to bankruptcy. In 1549, Cosimo the first’s wife, Eleonora di Toledo, saved Luca and the Boboli gardens by purchasing it all. It was enlarged in order to become the Medici family’s Florence residence and continuing to enlarge the property into the 19th Century.
Today, the Palazzo Pitti is a museum, which stores the art collections of previous royal inhabitants of the building, often showing temporary exhibitions.
The Costume Museum, or Galleria del Costume, was founded in 1983 and is housed in Palazzina della Meridiana, one of the southern wings of Palazzo Pitti. Featuring garments as far back as the 16th century, here you’ll find the burial dresses of Cosimo I dei Medici, Eleonora di Toledo and her son Don Garzia to vintage Chanel, Gucci, Versace, and Prada; from custom-made Florentine and Neapolitan bridal gowns from the early 1900s to a stunning array of costume jewels and accessories up to present day.
The exhibition space consists of pieces borrowed from the private collections of personalities such as Tuscan writer Anna Rontani; Countess (and noted pianist) Antonella Cannavò Florio; Art Nouveau Fashion icon Donna Franca Florio; turn of the century actress, Eleonora Duse and fashion journalist Anna Piaggi. The mannequins, used to display each outfit, are custom made to measure the garment’s owner. The gallery also features an archive of design sketches and drawings to accompany the garments on display.
From glamorous gowns to modern accessories, the fashion story told here is one for all.