Spring in Firenze, The Museum Of Anthropology & The Stibbert Museum

St John the Baptist was feeling the cold.

Since we returned from Rome, we have had been to a few Museums, had house guests and at the moment we are in the midst of Pasqua (Easter).

The Museum of Anthropology
Ben had been telling me about the Museum of Anthropology since the beginning of the term, but we hadn't got around to seeing it. It's in Via del Preconsolo which is at the back of the Duomo.
The entry costs 10 euros for a 3 month pass and this also gets you into the Anthropology Museum, the Botanical Gardens, the Geological and Palaeontology Museum and the Mineralogical Museum - but not the Zoological Museum.
If you just want to see one of the museums on it's own, it is 6 euros, so the 3 month pass is a bargain.
It was an amazing museum - they had stuff in there that you wouldn't see anywhere else. Mummies from Peru, boomerangs from Australia, Maori war canoes, American Indian clothing, African spears....
There was also an photography exhibition of photos taken by an explorer in the late 1800's in China, Thailand and Formosa. They were all taken using glass plates and were really amazing.
The best thing about this museum was that no one else was in there! Occasionally someone would wander in because it is a museum you can enter with the Firenze card, but they would do a quick trot through and then leave.
It was absolutely fascinating, it felt like we had stepped back into time as the museum was started in 1913. Even the cabinets are old with hand-written signage everywhere.
The first floor is dedicated to the collections of Africa, Asia, America and Australia while the ground floor is the Indian Museum (1885) which also contains the collection dedicated to Tibet.
The museum also has temporary exhibitions such as the photography exhibition.
We didn't have our camera with us so I had to get pictures off the net to give you an idea - if you come to Florence, go and see it!

The weather has been beautiful lately and Florence is teeming with tourists - everywhere you go, there are people stopped in the middle of the road taking selfies, gazing up into the sky, looking in shop windows and just generally getting in the way ....... would you listen to us!! ... bloody tourists
Well we are tourists too, so we have to be tolerant, but it can get annoying in the supermarket when there are tour guides in there with packs of people explaining that "this is where people buy food"!!
This is why we have been looking for places we can go where there aren't thousands of people and you don't have to queue for hours.
Yesterday we found the most amazing place - even better than the Anthropology Museum!

The Stibbert Museum in Montughi (Via Federico Stibbert 26)
It's a bit of a hike, across town and up a hill (about 3.5 kilometres) - you can take a bus, but it was a lovely day and it was definitely worth the walk. We took some photos, but they do not do the place justice.
Federico Stibbert was the grandson of an Englishman who was the commander in chief for the British East India Company in Bengal at the end of the 18th century and also ruled as governor for many years.
Fredrick inherited the Villa Stibbert from his grandfather and never had to work.
He lived with his English mother in the house where he spent his life collecting objects, antiques and artefacts - including a massive collection of armour and weapons from all over the world.
When he died in 1906 he left his collection to Florence.
It costs 8 euros to enter and you have to be taken around by an escort - they don't tell you much about the place and they seem to be more like guardians of the place. Unfortunately, there was no guide during our visit so one of these "guardians" took the group of us around. She didn't say much and what she did say was in Italian, but the place speaks for itself!
There are very few labels on things, but it is just an amazing place to visit!
I think that we were the only english speakers, but there were a few other tourists as well as Italian families with kids - the kids were very well behaved as Italian children usually are.
You can take photos as long as no flash is used.
The whole place is rather dark and a bit spooky too.
The first room you enter has the most amazing paintings - when we got home and looked at our photos, we found a copy of the Mona Lisa up on the wall that we hadn't seen!
All the paintings look so clean and bright, I suppose that this is the  result of being in a private collection without huge crowds wandering around.
The rooms are full of armour, old guns, spurs, swords, paintings, ceramics, furniture, you name it, it's there!
Federico must have been a man who loved shopping and travelling. He never married and he looked after his mother until she died.
The hall with the full size horses and the men in full armour was unbelievable - Guy kept saying that his dad would absolutely love the armour.
We both agree that the whole place is priceless and we can't believe that we have never heard of it or that it is not on the tourist map.
If you come to Florence you must go and see it.
Spot the Mona Lisa on the middle right side!
Indian & Muslim soldier collection
Part of the Japanese Samurai collection
The Grand Hall
Swords and Armour
Part of the gun collection
Another part .... and there is much more!
A small part of the sword collection
One of the reception rooms
As well as the villa, there is a lovely quiet garden attached to it. It seems to be open to the public as the entry gates are away from the house and open to all.
After visiting the house, we walked and sat in the gardens - you would not know that you were in a city as it is very quiet.

Lyn's Week At Il Bisonte
Last week was the end of Ignacio and Ben's time at Il Bisonte.
A farewell lunch was organised, so everyone brought some food and it was all set up in the main studio. It was sad to see them go and I can't believe that three months have passed already.
We have all swapped prints with them.
Here's some photos from the party.
Yuta making sushi - Clara tried the wasabi and unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the result !
Getting the table ready
Everyone enjoying the food
Ben and Ignacio receive their certificates
The last thing is my latest prints;
Punta secca (dry point) on aluminium
This is me!
Still working on Venice!

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