Hidden Gems of Italy: San Marco Museum in Florence
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Housed in the monumental wing of an ancient Dominican convent, the National Museum of San Marco, located in Piazza San Marco in Florence, is an architectural masterpiece by Michelozzo and features the world’s largest collection of works by Beato Angelico, one of the greatest painters of the early Renaissance, who lived in the monastery for a period of time.
While the San Marco Museum is outside the main tourist routes in Florence, it deserves to be visited, both for the architecture of the building (Michelozzo was one of the great pioneers of architecture during the Renaissance, extensively employed by Cosimo de' Medici) and for the art contained inside, which includes works by Fra Bartolomeo, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Alessio Baldovinetti and Jacopo Vignali, among others.
Commissioned by Cosimo Vecchio de’ Medici, the building was consecrated in 1443 and became the center of a fervent religious activity.
Fra’ Angelico, a Dominican monk who lived in the convent between 1438 and 1445 and became the convent’s prior, finely decorated the public and private spaces of the monastery, including the chapter hall, the cloister of Saint Anthony, the monks’ cells on the first floor, the refectory and the hospice room.
The Museum provides a perfect example of a 15th-century convent where everything is designed to harmonize and simplify the monastic life and to enhance the peacefulness of the cloister and the library, which is considered one of the most beautiful of the Renaissance.
Among Fra’ Angelico’s earliest works, the most famous is the Crucifixion with Saints in the Chapter Hall; in the cells, you can find the Annunciation, the Three Marys at the Tomb, the Noli me tangere and others.
The paintings in the refectory also include early works by Angelico, including the beautiful altarpiece of the Last Judgment and the Deposition of the Cross, showing the Tuscan hills in the background.
The San Marco Museum has a spectacular Last Supper frescoed by Domenico Ghirlandaio at the end of the 16th century, and a valuable collection of Enlightenment books in the library.
Speaking of the library, it is right at its entrance that the preacher Girolamo Savonarola was captured. He would later be hanged and burned on Piazza della Signoria.
Ospitato nell'ala monumentale di un antico convento domenicano, il Museo Nazionale di San Marco, situato in Piazza San Marco a Firenze, è un capolavoro architettonico di Michelozzo e ospita la più vasta collezione al mondo di opere del Beato Angelico, uno dei più grandi pittori del primo Rinascimento, che visse nel monastero per un periodo di tempo.
Sebbene il Museo di San Marco si trovi fuori dalle principali rotte turistiche di Firenze, merita di essere visitato, sia per l'archite