by Melinda Gallo

Casa Buonarroti

I'm embarrassed to admit that I live about a block from Casa Buonarroti (Michelangelo's house) and I only just visited it today for the first time. I walk past it many times a week to go to the gym, the grocery store, and the alimentari (corner grocer) that is right across the street from it. I made a point this morning of getting out of the house early enough to go for a visit, especially since it was one of a few museums open on Mondays.

Living in Florence :: Casa Buonarroti

After walking into the building, a man behind a small window in the wall gave me a ticket after I showed him my tessera (membership card) and paid him 4 Euros. The museum was very quiet. The entrance to the museum, he told me, starts in the gift shop. I was a little hesitant, but I went in that direction and entered the first few rooms, which seemed quite bleak, but had many beautiful pieces on display.

In the gift shop, I bought a bi-lingual guide book with beautiful color photos. I didn't know why I purchased it since I knew that I wasn't going to read it until I got home. After I paid, the woman told me to go through a small door, which led out to a small cortile (courtyard), and then go up the stairs. I walked back into the hall where I arrived and took the stairs to the first floor. One small room that caught my attention displayed multiple portraits of Michelangelo. Not different portraits of him, but remakes of the same one.

In the Galleria, there was a group of American students listening to a woman describe the details of the room. The rooms were not that small, but the area where you can stand is, so I waited until they were done before entering. I was happy to walk around by myself, taking in the beauty of each room at my own pace. Each room seemed so different from the next. It was a true joy to discover the magnificent details by just scanning the walls and ceiling of each room.

The museum displays much of Michelangelo's earlier works, which are quite awe-inspiring. I enjoyed seeing his schizzi/disegni (sketches/designs) the most because I read that Michelangelo was a perfectionist and burned most of his schizzi, so very few exist.

I read somewhere that Michelangelo never lived here, but he did own the property. Supposedly he lived across the street in a more humble palazzo (building). At any rate, the Casa Buonarroti is exceptional in that it contains a unique collection of artwork and many of the rooms are themselves pieces of art that definitely should not be missed.

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