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The Marino Marini Museum in Florence

Past and Present Together Under One Roof

Piazza San Pancrazio (SMN area)
Full euro 6,00
Reduced euro 4,00
Opening hours
Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Day of closure
Tuesday and public holidays: January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th

The Marino Marini Museum located in the ex-church of San Pancrazio is something totally different. Combining classic and contemporary art all under one roof. The architects responsible for showcasing the contemporary work of Marino Marini took the antique structure of San Pancrazio and, as the Italians would say, “sposa” (married) it to the concepts of space and light that created a sensorial piacere (pleasure) which perfectly complements the diversity that we find within the stone walls.

Go for the Art & Architecture

The unusual mix of styles within the museum will satisfy those with a penchant for only antique art and also those who prefer only contemporary art.   Without a doubt, the Marino Marini Museum is an opportunity to feel. You can start by feeling the space dedicated to the artwork.  The museum is set on 4 levels, each offering an individual perspective which is not only interesting but necessary to fully appreciate the (sometimes) massive pieces in bronze and plaster. Each level proposes a new point of view, a new opportunity to pull out the image, the contours and the hidden “modern day hero on a horse” a recurrent theme in the artist and sculptor Marino Marini’s artwork.

The innovative and modern interior design, not only sets the stage for the work of this contemporary artist but also manages to expose the original architecture of the church interior. From the towering heights of the ceiling to the curious restructuring of the crypt, a stroll through the museum allows for a double appreciation: the past and the present.

A Special Spot in Florence

Tucked away in a small corner between Santa Maria Novella and Palazzo Strozzi, it is most definitely a space you would have skipped right over if no one had pointed it out. The origins of the church appear to date back to Charlemagne (Charles the Great) and its past has been touched by great artists such as Leon Battista Alberti and Neri di Bicci. Its more recent history, after it was deconsecrated, included activities like housing the city's lottery, a tribunal and even a tobacco factory before becoming the home to some of the important pieces by Marino Marini.

Half and Half

Though the structure is classified as  a museum, within the walls of the ex-church stands the Sacellum of the Holy Sepulchre also known as the Rucellai Sepulchre.  This corner of San Pancrazio, even if located inside the Museum, still belongs to the Curia of Florence, and is considered a sacred site dedicated to worship. Thus making this half museum and half "church".  The sepulchre is only accessible through the museum, and  it is open to the public during the opening hours of the museum, but you will still need to purchase a ticket to visit it.

It is interesting to view how these two artists stand side by side, complementing one another even with hundreds of years in between them. Marino Marini (1901-1980) style and themes goes back to the Etruscans for his inspiration; shapes and forms are used with a personal interpretation to communicate to the audience.  Leon Alberti Batista (1401-1472) uses the artists and architects before him and gives new life and dimension to the precise mathematical calculations to create his monuments and facades, a tribute to those who came before him.

Separated by 500 Years

Marino Marini, born in Pistoia where you will find another museum with more of his works, spent time all around Europe before coming back to Italy to live his final years in Milan. He studied several different themes: equestrian, Pomonas (nudes), portraits, and circus figures all of which are represented in the museum.

The other artist present in the Museum is Leon Battista Alberti, and his work, the Rucellai Sepulchre, is a small funerary chapel. There is an excellent film inside the museum in two languages which highlights the details of the chapel and speaks of its revolutionary concepts (much like Marini’s work) in that time period.

Author: Donna Scharnagl

It has been over 24 years since I took my first steps in Italy and I still haven’t found a good reason to leave.  Between the food, the culture, the history, the art, the landscapes … did I mention the food? I have become a lifelong student. And I soon learned that Italians all have stories that long to be told; stories that paint a picture of how hard work produces character, how life is made of ups and downs and how good it feels to laugh.


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