Villa Bardini in Florence

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Guide to visiting Villa Bardini

Villa Bardini, which was originally called Villa Manadora, is one of the most important Florentine spaces dedicated to setting up temporary exhibitions. This is thanks to the two museums that are housed inside: the Capucci Museum and the Annigoni Museum. To these two museums is also added Bardini Contemporanea, a space with free admission, dedicated to contemporary art and visual art in combination with Terrazza Bardini. The setting is that of the spectacular Bardini Garden, on the coast of San Giorgio, which can be visited with the same ticket as the Boboli Gardens.

History of the villa

Commissioned by Francesco Manadori (hence the old name of Villa Manadora), the villa was built in the first half of the seventeenth century by the architect Gherardo Silvani. Its garden, which exploits the natural slope of the hill, can count on some of the most beautiful views towards the historic center of Florence, especially the Santa Croce district.

In the nineteenth century, the villa was purchased by Giacomo Le Blanc who transformed the park of Villa Bardini into an English garden in the style of the time. At that time statues, fountains and the Kaffeehaus with grotto were added, as well as woods and winding walkways. Subsequently the property to the Mozzi family who already owned the homonymous Palazzo Mozzi, which is located a little further down and had a garden bordering Villa Manadora.

Unfortunately, during the 19th century the villa underwent a progressive decline until it passed into the hands of the Carolath-Benten princes who enriched the garden with some elements according to Victorian fashion.

In 1913, Villa Manadora was bought by the antiquarian Stefano Bardini, one of the most important figures of the late nineteenth century antiques, who had the Louvre and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as clients. Stefano Bardini made major changes to the complex, creating an avenue that allowed you to reach the villa. To do this he sacrificed the medieval gardens that still existed. By uniting the buildings located on the Costa San Giorgio, he finally created what we know today as Villa Bardini.

On the death of his son and heir Ugo, the villa ended up at the center of an inheritance dispute that ended only in 1996 when finally, following the wishes of the deceased, the villa passed to the Municipality of Florence. After a few years of neglect, the villa was renovated with a contribution from the Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze and in 2006 it was finally open to the public. Finally, between 2007 and 2008 the Roberto Capucci Museum and the Annigoni Museum were also opened.

Villa Bardini in Florence
Villa Bardini (Photo by Sailko / CC BY)

Museo Capucci in Villa Bardini

The villa, very large (almost four thousand square meters) has about sixty rooms and lounges. The first museum, the Museo Capucci, dedicated to the work of the stylist Roberto Capucci, was opened in 2008. The museum houses a permanent exhibition dedicated to a series of twelve sculpture-dresses created by Capucci for the 1995 Venice Biennale. .

In addition to the permanent exhibition, new temporary exhibitions are set up from time to time dedicated to the designer’s production from 1950 to today: thirty dresses, divided into groups, are periodically rotated along with sketches, sketches, audiovisuals and an extensive press review. The foundation that manages the museum also organizes educational events and seminars.

Museo Annigoni

The other museum, the Museo Annigoni, houses the largest collection of the famous Italian painter Pietro Annigoni, who is also known as the “painter of queens”. The museum’s collection has a total of about six thousand works. From this great artistic collection, one hundred and twenty works have been selected as well as numerous medals, lithographs, personal objects and drawings.

Bardini Garden

Another great reason to visit Villa Bardini is its splendid garden. The Bardini Garden is in fact another attraction of great interest, especially for its Baroque staircase that allows you to admire a formidable view of the historic center of Florence.

Here you can admire many decorative plants including roses, irises and hydrangeas. In the lower part of the garden there is even a green theater. The Bardini Garden also has two caves, one that mimics a natural ravine and one surmounted by a brick arch.

Last but not least I would like to point out the presence of a wisteria tunnel that every year in the flowering period gives a show of great impact. Those who cannot visit the garden can still see this wonder via webcam or through the social channels of Villa Bardini.

Information for visiting Villa Bardini

Villa Bardini has two separate entrances: the first is located in Via dei Bardi 1 red, the second is in Costa San Giorgio 2.
The garden is open every day while the villa is open from Tuesday to Sunday. The time is usually from 10 in the morning until 8 in the evening.

The ticket for Villa Bardini costs 10 euros but there are various reductions and free tickets possible.

The nearest parking is located near Forte Belvedere.

For more information on timetables, ticket prices and exhibitions, I suggest you also visit the official website.

Villa Bardini open-air cinema

For some years now, with the arrival of summer, the evenings of the villa have been animated by the review “Cinema in villa“, the open-air cinema of Villa Bardini. The festivalusually takes place between July and August with a rich calendar of screenings. The selection of films in 2022 was curated by the Niels Stensen Cultural Foundation. The initiative is promoted and organized by the Fondazione CR Firenze and the Bardini and Fondazione Parchi Monumentali Bardini e Peyron in collaboration with the Associazione culturale Musart and with the patronage of the Municipality of Florence. All information on tickets can be found here.

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