by Melinda Gallo

Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Firenze

It seems the more we live here, the harder it is to just visit a museum. We have many things to do and enjoy each day, like work and going out with our friends. And sometimes we're so busy, we don't think of visiting them either. After getting my new tessera (membership card) from the Amici degli Uffizi yesterday, I felt very inspired to go to a museum, so I did.

A few weeks ago, I bumped into a girl downtown whom I knew when I first lived in Florence back in 1999. She mentioned that another girl we both know worked at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Firenze. The two girls used to work at the Uffizi together and we used to meet up and talk together once in a while.

The Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Firenze is right across the street from our apartment and I walk past it each time I go to the palestra (gym), so with my new tessera in hand, I headed there first.

I love going to new museums in town because there are so many; however, I am looking forward to going back to the Bargello again this year.

I walked through the sliding glass doors and up a few steps to a somewhat improvised table with souvenirs and guide books on it. Three women were sitting behind it and I could barely see them unless they sat up straight.

I recognized my friend right away, and I think she was surprised to see me too. We talked for a brief moment, but she didn't tell me much about what was going on with her. When I lived here before, we weren't the best of friends, but at least we were close enough to talk about our lives in some detail.

She asked me if I wanted to visit the museum and when I told her that I had my brand new tessera, she handed me a ticket to enter saying that my tessera wasn't valid there.

I wasn't completely prepared to visit the museum since I hadn't read up on it before arriving. I thought that if my tessera was valid, I'd just take a quick tour and then come back another time. But, since my tessera isn't valid at this museum, I decided I should take my time and see as much as I could.

"Ci vediamo dopo." (We'll see each other later), she told me before I walked off to wander through the museum alone. I was surprised how few people were in the museum. There seemed to be more people working in the museum than people visiting it.

I was surprised by the large collection of artifacts and remains that the museum holds. From the entrance, I thought it was a much smaller museum. Some of the items in the collection were excavated in areas in Tuscany and Umbria, like Orvieto and Arezzo. Many of the artifacts are of Egyptian provenance and are housed in rooms with Italian frescos on the ceiling, but painted in turquoise blue with Egyptian symbols. I was very intrigued bythe Egyptian tombs they had on display as I had never seen them up close before. They also explained la scrittura geroglifica (hieroglyphic writing) in some detail and displayed many ancient scrolls so you could see it in use.

I felt quite overwhelmed by all that was on display at the museum. I plan on going back after I read up some more on it. My friend told me that I can come back whenever I'd like to visit it again, and I might just take her up on her offer.

I am always so pleased to enter into a museum and discover so much about the world we live in. Who would've thought that the door I walk past almost every day would allow me to view artifacts from around the world.

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