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Opificio delle Pietre Dure

Hard Rock, Florentine Style

Opificio delle pietre dure

Cosimo I was the first to promote actively what was to become Florence’s special craft, and it was Ferdinando I who founded the Opificio in 1588 as a centre for craftsmen, whose main task was to supply pietre dure (inlaid ‘hard stones’ or semi-precious stones) by the square yard for the Medici chapels.

In the late 18th century, the Lorraine dukes made this plain convent of San Nicoló into their workshop and museum, and they’ve been here ever since, creating ‘paintings in stones’; some, like the Veduta del Pantheon by Ferdinando Partini, are extraordinarily detailed, catching light and shadow in their cold, meticulous perfection. They are also master restorers of paintings and sculpture, and usually have a piece they've just completed to show off.

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Via Alfani 78

Hours Mon-Sat 8.15am-2pm

Adm € 4, €2 reduced

+39 055 26511

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Image by Kent Wang