Via Ghibellina, 70
Open every morning from 9.30 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. (closed on Tuesdays)
Ticket Euros 6,50
This palace is situated where Michelangelo bought some houses he used to live in while in Florence. Later it was built a unique palace by his descendants and the Buonarroti family lived here for centuries. Thanks to these descendants, a good collection of Michelangelo’s works was collected in this palace, which was later turned into museum.
In the several halls you can admire many Michelangelo’s works: the wax or bronze models for his creations (like the one for an unrealized work of Hercules for the Signoria Square), the drawings (exposed temporarily on rotation), the paintings by other artists influenced by Michelangelo and the suggestive Galleria, frescoed with scenes of the life of Michelangelo.
The most important displays are on the second floor: two are the impressive sculptures done by him at a very young age. Just at 16 he realized the Madonna della Scala (inspired by Donatello’s bas-reliefs) and the extraordinary Centauromachia (the fight between centaurs and men).
Centauromachia was inspired by the bas-reliefs of Roman sarcophagi, but there is a frenetic dynamism, which is a brand new topic, typical of Michelangelo’s style. You can see in this early work how he is already full of knowledge of human anatomy, how he loves to represent masculine figures in movement and how he is able to give such an expressive power to the scene.
It is also shown a torso of a river divinity (in metal melting) and a wood model of the un-realized project for the façade of the San Lorenzo Church. This project is very imposing, but it was criticized to be too severe, risking to make the original shape created by Brunelleschi too dull. Nevertheless the presence of such an important master’s project somehow blocked all other architects to submit new ones, as well as the people in charge to accept any other one, so this important church still shows the main face unfinished.
Just one more curiosity: the ancient name of Via Buonarroti was “Via de’ Marmi Sudici” (“Dirty Marbles Road”), as you can read in the little plaque on the wall at the beginning of the street. This name comes from those blocks of stone, darkened by the dust and the weather, which used to lay in the road for years, waiting to be used by the artist while he was busy around Florence or Rome.