Once in a Lifetime - Florentine treasures at the Palatina Gallery

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The current exhibition at the Palatina Gallery in Palazzo Pitti until April 27, entitled "Once in a Lifetime - Treasures from the archives and libraries of Florence" is devoted to the Florentine libraries and archives that preserve valuable documents and manuscripts and of interest even for non-experts.The show, hosted in the beautiful White Room, showcases more than 130 copies available from numerous lenders.

The documents range both in time and in the types from letters to paintings, from hand sketches to prints of laws, from ancient editions to certificates. In particular, among other things, the attention of the visitor will certainly be attracted by documents by Michelangelo, the act of baptism of Leonardo da Vinci and other text that bears his footnotes, a lesson written by Galileo on Dante's Inferno, a giant edition of the Divine Comedy over 86 cm high, in addition to various works attributed to Andrea Mantegna, Alessandro Allori, autographs by Girolamo Savonarola, Poliziano, Cosimo I de 'Medici, Ugo Foscolo, Pietro Vieusseaux, Vasco Pratolini, Eduardo De Filippo, Dino Campana, the Nobel laureate Eugenio Montale and others.

It is a huge documentary heritage, which includes some pieces that for years have "slept" in the archives without ever being exposed and that now represent a novelty for everyone. These include a page written by Michelangelo on how to get the marble, and ancient manuscripts, the first dictionary of the Crusca dating back to 1612, the first issue of Mickey Mouse in 1932, as many as seven copies of the Divine Comedy, one with illustrations by Alessandro Botticelli, the law of Peter Leopold of Habsburg in 1786 that abolished the death penalty in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the register of the Istituto degli Innocenti that contains the name of the first child abandoned in the pile of stone, and even a papyrus dating from the IV-I century BC.

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The aim of the exhibition is precisely to offer a unique opportunity to admire those who can be called the real jewels stored in the main cultural "treasure chests" of Florence. In some cases they are indeed true icons of the Florentine cultural heritage, all works which represent, each in its own way, the sources of modern and contemporary knowledge.

Moreover, in addition to the main exhibition, there is also a small section devoted to the consequences suffered by the Florentine papers and books in two particularly dramatic moments in the history of the city: the flood of 1966 and the bomb in via dei Georgofili in 1993. There are also three pieces which were flooded and have not yet been restored, as well as a book gutted by the bomb.This is definitely a warning to all, and also a great opportunity to remember and give new life to a precious cultural heritage.

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