Tours / One-hour guided tour to the Opificio delle Pietre Dure: the Florentine Mosaic of semi-precious stones

In 1588 Ferdinando I dei Medici established the Opificio delle Pietre Dure as a laboratory for the preparation of ornaments for the tombs of the Medici family, the Chapel of the Princes in the Church of San Lorenzo.

In order to understand the elegance and perfection of these works we should touch them. Unfortunately we are not allowed, so we limit ourselves to observing them very closely: jasper, mother-of-pearl, malachite, lapis lazuli, all kinds of quartz, precious marbles become carved designs so precisely that they have been called "stone paintings" in the nineteenth century.

The museum itinerary corresponds to the life and events of this centuries-old productive activity.

The most refined works are conserved in palaces and museums all over Europe and have often been donated by the Florentine Grand Dukes.  In the production laboratories there are some unfinished or modified works with some works that survived the dispersions of the nineteenth century, which ended in 1882 with the creation of a museum hosting the collection.

The collection outlines the three-century historical path of the processing of these works, of remarkable charm and prestige. It also preserves an important supply of ancient marbles and hard stones collected specifically for the implementation of the “commesso”  technique.

Thanks to the reorganization of the collection you can retrace the complete process of works creation and discover the mechanisms of a fascinating part of Florentine artistic history. The exhibition follows a thematic criterion: the manufactures of the Medici and Lorraine grand-ducal period are documented in the halls obtained from the hall, while those of the post-unification period in the nineteenth-century halls. The mezzanine floor of the hall is dedicated to the processing techniques: from the large stone sample collection, to the workbenches, to the tools, up to some examples of the production phases of carvings.

Paintings, tables, tabernacles and even a whole fireplace in malachite!

Take a whole hour for yourself and let our expert guide explain this wonderful technique, reviewing works of great artistic and social value from the time of the Medici up to the nineteenth century, when the factory became a Restoration workshop of delicate and famous paintings and sculpture,

A laboratory that still enjoys great fame all over the world.



Available days: Every day from Monday to Saturday

Bookable Starting Time: From 8:30 am to 12:30 pm

Duration: 1 hours

Available Languages:

All, on reservation

Adult rate: The rate of the tour depends on the number of people. CALCULATE YOUR OWN RATE!

Child rate: From 6 years to 17 years with ID Please insert number of people.

Meeting Point: At the entrance of Opificio delle Pietre Dure, via degli Alfani 78, Florence