The “Foresteria” of the Museum of San Marco: the importance of historical finds of the old centre of Florence.



On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of Florence as capital of the Kingdom of Italy, two major exhibits trace the history of urban transformation during the entirety of the second half of the Nineteenth Century.

At the State Archive (“A Capital and its Architect”) is the project of Giuseppe Poggi which reveals the face of the “new city”: with its drawings, study plans and documents of the period which speak of the transformation to a new urban order. Located at the headquarters of the Ente Cassa di Risparmio (“Florence: Photographs of a City between History and Today”) the collection of cityscapes by Fabio Borbottoni and Emilio Biondi restores a “snapshot” of urban images before the “modernization” by the “Poggi Plan” which were to change, often radically, the nature of places.

 The exposition of the pictures of Borbottoni is also an excuse to remember that inside the Museum of San Marco, along the “Foresteria” (the old guest quarters), is housed the “Museum of Ancient Florence.” This is an exhibition inside the monastery where there many architectural fragments are accommodated from the ancient city centre. Entablatures, columns, capitals, coats of arms, ancient portals, decorations and other stone fragments all show the old face of the city and offer a witness to the “taste” of different eras.

The exhibits of the “Foresteria” come mainly from the current Piazza della Repubblica (“Republic Square”), in the heart of the city, which has seen its mediaeval appearance replaced by other, more “modern” (according to the intentions of the time) architectures.

The scenes of Borbottoni illustrate well the places and spaces of city life, the fragments of “vanished” Florence were recovered and collected by Guido Carocci (1851-1916), director of the  museum of San Marco, to keep the memory of these places alive.

Antonello Greco

transl. by Marcus Francis

Esterno1 Centro20 Centro18 Centro13C Centro13B Centro12 Centro5 Centro4 Centro3

More info: Barletti E. (a cura di), Firenze. Fotografia di una città. Tra storia e attualità. La collezione Borbottoni ed altre vedute dalle raccolte d’arte dell’ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, Polistampa, Firenze 2015.

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