Michelangelo’s Secret in Florence Room opens to Visitors
“A Secret Room in Florence: Michelangelo’s Hidden Wonders Now Open to Visitors”
Florence is an incredible place everyone can explore. It’s another precious gem among Florence’s many treasures.
After nearly 50 years since its discovery back in 1975, starting on November 15, the secret room of Michelangelo, a small space containing a series of drawings attributed to the master himself, accessible through the Sagrestia Nuova inside the Museum of the Medici Chapels, will be open to the public.
The History of the Secret Room
The announcement was made on September 26 by Massimo Osanna, the General Director of Museums, during a press conference presenting the new release of the Museum of the Medici Chapels, an integral part of the state-owned group of the Bargello Museums directed by Paola D’Agostino.
The eagerly awaited opening of the Secret Room to the public, which had never been accessible in an organized manner before, is made possible through ongoing monitoring in the coming months, in collaboration with the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, and will be effective from November 15.
Access will be limited to small groups of up to 4 people at a time to protect the drawings and maintain suitable conservation conditions essential for safeguarding these precious artifacts.
The limited number of visitors per time slot is due to the need to alternate periods of LED lighting with prolonged periods of darkness.
In 2018, thanks to the collaboration between the Ministry of Culture and Lottomatica, Master Mario Nanni, assisted by architect Maria Cristina Valenti, who was working at the Bargello Museums, oversaw the new LED lighting for the Secret Room.
Michelangelo’s Secret in Florence Room opens to Visitors – Video
“The completion of the New Release and the adaptation of the Museum of the Medici Chapels to safety standards will allow us to open Michelangelo’s Secret Room,” explained Massimo Osanna. “This place is of extraordinary charm but extremely delicate due to its location within the museum route and the need to protect the charcoal drawings on the walls.”
“It has been a long, constant, and patient effort involving various professionals, and I would like to thank all the staff at the Bargello Museums who have worked with me over the years to achieve this goal,” said Paola D’Agostino, director of the Bargello Museums.
“I owe special thanks to Francesca de Luca, an art historian and head of the Medici Chapels and Casa Martelli, and to Benedetta Cantini, a restoration official at the Bargello Museums, for their attentive care of this extraordinary space.
My deep gratitude also goes to the colleagues at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure who share their expertise and passion in various restoration, diagnostics, monitoring, and research projects on some of the masterpieces at the Bargello Museums.”
“This tiny room is a truly unique find with its exceptional evocative potential. Its walls seem to barely contain numerous sketches of figures, many of monumental size, traced with marks that demonstrate great design clarity,” commented Francesca de Luca, curator of the Museum of the Medici Chapels.
“Studies accompany these, some meticulously detailed and others more casual, of anatomical details, faces, and unusual poses.
Not all the drawings exhibit the same level of graphic quality as Michelangelo’s work, but according to Paolo dal Poggetto, the discoverer of this room in 1975, this is where Michelangelo may have practiced his art in 1530 during his hiding from Pope Clement VII Medici’s wrath, due to his role in fortifications for the republican government that had expelled the Medici family in 1527.
Nevertheless, this place offers today’s visitors a unique experience to directly connect not only with the master’s creative process but also with the perception of the formation of his myth as a divine artist, serving as a model for contemporary colleagues and young artists enrolled in the Academy of the Arts of Design, of which Michelangelo was appointed ‘Father and Master,’ and in 1563, the Academy established its headquarters in the Sagrestia.”
A few questions and answers about Michelangelo’s Secret in Florence Room opens to Visitors
How was the hidden room discovered?
The hidden room was discovered when the museum director spotted a trapdoor below a wardrobe that led to the room.
When the “secret room” open to the public?
From November 2023, the “secret room” open to the public.
What does the new “author exit,” designed by architect Paolo Zermani, include?
The new “author exit” includes a large underground multifunctional environment that encompasses the Lorraine Crypt and a section of the medieval Florentine walls that emerged during the excavations.
What is the potential significance of the sketches found in the hidden room?
The sketches could shed light not only on Michelangelo’s creative process but also on a mysterious and dangerous period in his life.