History of the Museum

The Ferrucciano Museum

The history of the Museum

The suggestion of establishing a Museo Ferrucciano in Gavinana was made for the first time in 1858, by the engineer from San Marcello Gaetano Niccoli; it involved building in the village square «a Pantheon where all the weapons, trophies, writings could be collected, as well as anything else to remind us of the great leader of the Florentine Republic». This idea, however, was followed up exactly fifty years later: in September 1858, following an initiative by the Società Operaia “Francesco Ferrucci” in Gavinana a committe was set up to build the Museum; also in this case, however, the objective was not achieved. The project was taken up again in ivew of the then imminent fourteenth anniversary of the Florence siege and battle. In August 1929 the National Committe for the Tribute to Francesco Ferrucci was thus established in Florence, chaired by the Member of Parliament Lando Ferretti (1895-1977). the ambitious programme drafted by the Committee also included buying and restructuring the house known as ex-Battistini, looking onto the main sqaure in Gavinana, to turn it into a museum to commemorate the hero from Florence. During its session of 5 July 1930, the Committee agreed to pay 70,000 lira, for the purchase of the building and the relevant renovation, whose design was entrusted to the architect Ezio Cerpi from Siena (1868-1958). The Museum was inaugurated on the 2nd of August 1931, and opened to the public on the 31st of August that year. That first set-up, entrusted to Giuseppe Fumagalli (1863-1939), was visible for only a few years. During World War II the small building was occupied in several occasions by displaced persons, fighting forces and partisans; this caused damage to both the Museum structure and its collections. A second set-up, this time curated by Renzo Chiarelli, was aimed at healing the wounds caused by the war, integrating the exhibition with new loans and donations; it was inaugurated on the 4th of August 1957: this was followed by historical ups and downs, years of discontinous opening and management outsourcing, the Museum, somehow managed to remain open until 2017. in August that year, its owner (the Municipality of San Marcello Piteglio), due to the serious problems of the structure – an outdated building where the systems did not meet the regulations in force and spaces needed to be made more easily accessible – decided to close it to the public, starting the long bureaucratic procedure required to draft and finance the requalification work currently under way.

The images in the gallery refer to the new museum layout


Florence, 14 August 1489


Gavinana (San Marcello Piteglio), 3 August 1530

Francesco Ferrucci

Born in the borough of Santo Spirito of a Florentine family of ancient origin but modest conditions, as a teenager he trained as a merchant with the “banco” of Raffaello Girolami. His first political-administrative tasks were of limited importance: between 1512 and 1527, under the Medici regime, he became Podestà (the lowest rank among those reserved to citizens in local administration) in Campi Bisenzio and Radda in Chianti. After the Medicis were overthrown he was employed by the Republic for the management of several diplomatic-military affairs, although in a secondary role. The suggestion of directly engaging Ferrucci on the miiitary field, in October 1529, was made by Donato Giannotti, a high-ranking Republican clerk and intellectual (who then ended his ilfe in exile). Francesco Ferrucci thus became the undisputed protagonist of the war of 1529-1530, until his tragic end during the battle of Gavinana. The heroic image of Francesco Ferrucci which was pased on by Italian tradition in later century, essentially with a romantic and patriotic imprint (sometimes verging on the nationalistic), clashes against the way in which some contemporaries described him – «tall and dark-haired, with a serious and frighetened [frightening] air, a man inclined to rage, bestiality, cursing, very cruel, determined, vengeful and without reason» (Francesco Baldovinetti).What is certin is that he was a man of his time: crues and ruthless, no more or less than his colleagues and enemies on the battlefield; nevertheless, over and above moralistic judgement, thanks to his strong spirit and military ability, Ferrucci was the final hope for the Florentine Republicans during the siege.

Bibliography and sources:

Irene Cotta Stumpo, Ferrucci, Francesco, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, 47, 1997, s.v.
Alessandro Monti, L’assedio di Firenze (1529-1530). Politica, diplomazia e conflitto durante le guerre d’Italia, Pisa, Pisa University Press, 2015

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