On Monday, a woman I had just met mentioned that the museo (museum) above the Orsanmichele chiesa (church) would be open until the end of October for a mostra (exhibition) that was being held there. I hadn't heard of this museo, so I was intrigued to go. I had made plans with myself to visit the museo one morning this week, but as the days went by I had completely forgotten about it. At around noon while I was walking home from the Piazza Repubblica today, I took via di Lamberti past the chiesa. I saw a man standing outside of the palazzo (building) and I was immediately reminded about the museo. I walked up to him and asked him how long the museo would remain open. "Fino alle cinque oggi Until 5 pm today," he said. I decided to skip my commissioni (errands) and head inside for a visit.
I walked up the wide stone steps of the Palagio dell'Arte della Lana where the SocietÓ Dantesca Italiana (Italian Dante Society) now resides. I passed a few people who smiled at me while they were walking down. Because of the high ceilings in the chiesa, the museo is actually two floors up. I didn't understand the relationship between the societÓ (society) and the museo, but it's the only way to enter the museo.
I walked across the outdoor walkway that connects the palagio (building) and the museo. I looked down to the entrance of the chiesa where tourists were taking pictures of the fašade. I entered the glass double doors and was amazed by the marble and bronze statue (statues) that were lined up around the sala. Sun streamed in the large glass windows on all four walls of the museo while I looked up at the orange-colored brick ceiling. Because of the mostra there were also dark grey angular cases with jewelry and wine on display in circular glass openings.
Inside the museo, the original statue were positioned in roughly the same location as the replicas are in the external niches of the chiesa. I looked at each one and studied the ones that I liked the most. I often see the Madonna della Rosa (Virgin and child) because it's on the street I walk down, via di Lamberti. I also take via Orsanmichele quite often too, but I never noticed the Santi Quattro Coronati (Four Crowned Martyrs), which I admired when I saw it in the museo. The bronze statue that is in my picture is St. Matthew by Lorenzo Ghiberti.
I spoke with the custode (guardian) who was standing near the door. I told him how beautiful the sala (room) was and how it's sad that it's not open more often. "╚ un peccato, ma ci vuole qualcuno che rimane qui a fare il custode It's unfortunate, but we need a guardian to be present."
The custode told me that the sala above was really beautiful too, but unfortunately it was closed because they were setting up a mostra (exhibition). I had wanted to walk up the spiral staircase in the museo just to get a better view of the statue, but the custode was busy talking with a couple of men who arrived to set up the mostra.
I walked around the chiesa afterwards to look at the statue again. They are certainly beautiful in their appropriately sized niches, but it was much more intimate to see them close-up.
I was so happy to have been able to visit the museo, and the next time I see the doors open, I'll ask about visiting the other sala on the third floor. I heard that it's not to be missed.
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