Directed by Dr. P.R.Del Francia and Dr.M.C.Guidotti

H    O    M    E

In Italy at least, the Egyptian Museum in Florence is second only to the famous Egyptian Museum in Turin. Although a collection of Egyptian antiquities, part of the Medici collections, already existed in Florence in the 18th century, it was to be greatly increased during the 19th century. This was principally thanks to Leopoldo II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who not only purchased several collections but also financed a joint scientific expedition to Egypt in 1828 and 1829 with Charles X, King of France. The expedition was directed by Jean Francois Champollion, who discovered the key to deciphering hieroglyphics, and by Ippolito Rosellini from Pisa, Champollion's friend and disciple, who was to become the father of Egyptology in Italy. The numerous objects they found on their journey, either the result of their archeological excavations or purchases from local dealers, were divided up equally on their return between the Louvre in Paris and Florence.

  Parietal relief with the goddess Maat

The Egyptian Museum in Florence was formally founded in 1855, while Egyptologist Ernesto Schiaparelli from Piedmont, the future director of the Egyptian Museum in Turin, was asked to transfer the Egyptian antiquities and arrange them in their present exhibition rooms in 1880, together with the Archeological Museum. The Florentine collections were to increase considerably under Schiaparelli, who carried out further excavations in Egypt and also made many new purchases before his transfer to Turin. The last additions to the collection belonging to the Egyptian Museum of Florence came from private donations and scientific institutions; some of the most significant of these latter exhibits were donated by the Florentine Papyrological Institute and are the result of excavations carried out in Egypt between 1934 and 1939.They include one of the richest and most important collections of textiles from the Coptic era in the world.

The Egyptian Museum in Florence at present employs two Egyptologists and contains over 14.000 exhibits, which are distributed through nine rooms and two storerooms. The rooms displaying the various objects have for the most part all been renovated: Schiaparelli's old arrangement is now being substituted by a new one in chronological and, where possible, also topographical order. The collection contains material that ranges from prehistoric times to the Coptic era, with notable collections of stelae, vases, ushabti, amulets and small bronzes from various periods. Of particular interest among all these important and interesting objects are a series of statues from the period of Amenophis III, a cart dating from the 18th dynasty, the pilaster from the tomb of Seti I, a square mouthed faience chalice, the equipment of Pharoah Taharqa's daughter's wet-nurse, a portrait of a woman from Fayum and an important collection of late 19th century plaster casts.

Museo Egizio di Firenze
Via della Colonna 38
tel.: (0)55-2478641
Opening hours:
Sunday and holidays:9-13

©MEGA Via Lombroso 6/5 a
50134 Firenze
fax +39 055 412931
Email mega@mega.it