Free Museum Night in Fiesole on May 18

The ‘Madonna del Parto, by Nardo di Cione in the Bardini museum, a fondo oro painting from mid 14th century

Fiesole, just north of Florence, will be joining the European Night of Museums 2024 which sees a special annual opening of museums free of charge in celebration of culture and art across Europe. On May 18, the city museums in Fiesole will be open at no charge until 11 pm, hoping to increase accessibility to hubs of culture and learning to those who may not otherwise consider going. Located in the picturesque Tuscan surroundings, this event also provides the opportunity to explore the city of Fiesole and its history. 

These museums include the Bandini museum, which displays the collection of Fiesole native, Angiolo Maria Bandini, donated posthumously for the ”decoration, education and charity of the people of Fiesole.” The collection is comprised of exhibits from Florentine and Tuscan contexts illustrating the Medieval and Renaissance periods, including works by Bernardo Daddi, Taddeo Gaddi, Lorenzo Monaco and Agnolo Gaddi. The museum’s signature pieces are a Madonna and Child painting by Filippo Brunelleschi, and a rare Madonna del Parto (pregnant Madonna) by Nardo di Cione. 

The Civic Archeological Museum of Fiesole is also opening free of charge. Founded at the end of the nineteenth century upon the findings of various archeological objects in the excavations of the Roman Theatre and other monuments in the Fiesole area. The museum opened to the public in 1878 and was brought to its current home in 1914. With particular attention paid to the Etruscan, Roman and Lombard periods, this museum traces the long history of the area and the many cultures that have existed there. There is also an antique section containing artefacts such as vases, ceramics, bronzes and Roman sculptures.

Finally, visitors will be able to visit the Archeological Area (L’Area Archeologica) which encompasses some of the most important ancient monuments of Fiesole, from the Etruscan-Roman temple to the Roman baths and theatre and traces of a necropolis. The baths and the theatre both date back to the 1st century BC. whilst the remains of a chapel and a temple date from the 6th century BC and the 4th-2nd century BC, respectively. The location of the chapel is also the building site for the Roman temple, dating from around 1st century BC to 3rd century AD. Lombard period burials (7th century AD) are also found in the temple and the baths. 

The museums can be reached from Florence either by bus no. 7, exiting at Fiesole, Piazza Mino, or by car, following the A1 motorway, taking the Firenze sud exit and following signs for Fiesole. Other routes from Florence are made obvious by signs for Fiesole. Those with larger vehicles are advised to take Via di San Domenico to reach Fiesole. 

The museums do not have parking so it is recommended to use the free parking within the city. The entrances are found on the intersection of Via Dupré and Via Portigiani.  (Lucy Turner)