A complete guide of what you can expect during your visit to the Egyptian Museum in Florence
Second only to the one in Turin, the Egyptian Museum in Florence has the largest collection of Egyptian antiquities in Italy. The historical artefacts are the products of centuries of exploration and partnerships among rulers, scholars, and scholarly institutions. It is part of the Archaeological Museum in Florence, which is also home to Etruscan, Roman, and Greek collections.
A True Labour of Love – the Establishment and History of the Museum
The museum was unveiled in 1855, but its history dates back to the early part of the 17th century. For example, in 1828 the Grand Duke of Tuscany financed an expedition which led to the acquisition of a large haul of Egyptian artefacts. The scholarly campaign was led by Jean-Francois Champollion, who decoded the ancient scripts, and his apprentice, Ippolito Rosellini. It was through Rosellini’s efforts that Egyptology began to be viewed as a scholarly subject in Italy.
Before 1980, the collection was displayed among other artefacts in the Archaeological Museum, before it was moved into a separate room by Ernesto Schiaparelli. An ardent Egyptologist, Schiaparelli is credited with organising and enlarging the collection into pretty much of what is found there today. There have been several additions courtesy of donations by private collectors and scholarly organisations. The most notable ones are the lot of Coptic fabrics that were discovered in the early 20th century.
Exhibits – What You Can Expect to See at the Museum
The collection outgrew the order created by Schiaparelli, and currently, the more than 14,000 artefacts are exhibited in nine rooms and two magazines. The items are now organised chronologically. The collection includes vessels, statues and figurines, amulets, and ornaments from various periods.
Some notable pieces within the collection include a pillar that was excavated from the tomb of Seti and several statues from the reign of Amenhotep III. Seti was the ruler of Egypt between 1290 to 1279 BCE and is credited with establishing the kingdom’s greatness. During the reign by Amenhotep III, Egypt experienced a peaceful period, which led to a lot of artistic growth. Other equally interesting items include the Coptic textiles, nursing equipment from the tomb of Pharaoh Taharqa’s daughter, and an unidentified woman’s portrait from Faiyum.
Best Times to Visit
The doors open at 2:00 p.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. on Mondays. You will get another chance to view the exhibits from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 8:30 to 2:00 p.m. for the rest of the week. The museum is accessible using the same ticket as the one for the Archaeological Museum. You can find accommodation at the FIBNB apartments, which are close to the historic centre.