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Exhibitions | From 09/06/2014 to 01/11/2014

Sacred splendours. The treasure of the Chapel of the Relics in the Pitti Palace

Sacred splendours. The treasure of the Chapel of the Relics in the Pitti Palace

Precious religious artefacts from the Chapel of the Relics, a symbol of the devotion of the Grand Duchess of Tuscany and of the last Medici Grand Dukes

During the Medici period the Reliquary Chapel was a part of the grand duchess's apartments.

It was the principal chapel for the entire palace until the consecration of the neoclassical Palatine Chapel in 1785.

The Chapel of the Relics was built by Cosimo I and embellished by his wife, Maria Maddalena d’Asburgo, Archduchess of Austria and Grand Duchess of Tuscany, for storing precious relics which formed an important part of the Grand Dukes’ collections. Maria Maddalena was devoted to the acquisition of relics since her arrival in Florence in 1608.

Maria Maddalena was able to gather in her 'Chapel of the Relics' already in a few years an extraordinary body of work. The content of the chapel was then further enhanced by the Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere and his son, the Grand Duke Cosimo III, becoming one of the largest sacred treasures in Europe. Cosimo III devoted part of his life to the search of relics belonging to people from distant regions. In order to preserve those relics Cosimo III commissioned the design of decorated enclosures to sculptors and workshops masters.

The exhibition held at Pitti Palace is the result of a major research and it brings together for the first time after more than two hundred years more than one hundred artefacts and relics. The idea was to recreate a valuable collection, evidence of deep religious devotion of the family and, at the same time, a symbol of its economic power and prestige.

The different sections of the exhibition make the visitor discover the story of the collection from its origins to the beginning of its disintegration, when the most valuable items were dismantled to recover the gold, silver and precious stones.

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