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“A stunning collection of Japanese items”
Review of Stibbert Museum

Stibbert Museum
Ranked #34 of 635 things to do in Florence
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: A museum showcasing the eccentric and eclectic tastes of Frederick Stibbert, a 19th century art collector.
Montreal, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“A stunning collection of Japanese items”
Reviewed 19 June 2013

Outside Japan, this museum has the most important collection. Everything is great but the stunning part is the room with all the "iron horses and their iron cavaliers". Wow, I still have goose bumps when I think about it as it is so impressive!

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Josee514
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Lake Wylie, South Carolina
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“A Hidden Gem!”
Reviewed 14 June 2013

OK, if arms and armor are your thing, or glimpsing at an unmolested and untouched residence of an extremely wealthy family of 19th century glamor, then you need to find this museum!

This mansion is a bit out of range for most of the tourists on foot, so it is a very quiet place to be. The grounds outside the mansion are extensive and serene, so it is a great place to relax after spending countless hours walking around the crowded streets of Florence. There is a small deli of sorts so you can get some snacks and cafe (coffee) while you are there.

They only do guided tours on the hour, so try to arrive at the time you want to tour the mansion.

Did I mention the hundreds of swords and vintage complete suits of armor that Mr. Stibbert collected over his lifetime? I have never seen such a large collection of 14th - 17th century arms and armor, and probably never will again.

The only downside is that some of the tour guides don't seem to either know much about the artifacts in the mansion, or don't speak English well enough to converse in that language. There is also a stunning lack of labels on anything. It would be nice to know what you are looking at so you can get the full picture instead of trying to draw your own conclusions.

A tour worth doing!

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank Dana B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“A museum worth the bus and walk !”
Reviewed 20 April 2013

We have been in Florence many times and for extended periods.
This museum is open on a Mon so this was our first visit.
Oh my was it worth it.
This man devoted his life to collecting...paintings..porcelain..and ARMOUR...there are at least 47 rooms full of stuff!
What an eccentric he must have been.
We brought a picnic lunch-and ate in the gardens..
He had no heirs and left this all to the state,
Since there are only a limited umber of visitors it is open not often


Visited April 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank RubyMontreal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Crowthorne, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“quirky little place”
Reviewed 19 April 2013

really quite interesting little museum a bit off the beaten track. You are being let around by a member of staff who is not a guide and doesn't really tell you anything and there is no leaflet to guide you around or explain the exhibits. You also have to stay with your group and can not really go at your own pace. Non the less, definitely worth a visit. Also has some lovely gardens. But be aware it is a very steep road up to the museum and through the gardens!

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank 109Marion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Fancy yourself as a knight? Compare wares at this ancient armor museum”
Reviewed 7 March 2013

There is certainly no end to sights in Florence that will boggle your mind, dazzle your senses or whet your appetite for antiquities. However, if you are into armor, feudalism, weaponry or have just been hired as the 2nd production assistant for props and sets, the Stibbert Museum is a must see!

First my complaints:

1. It’s very dark inside, so try to attend on a sunny day (luckily this isn’t too much of a problem, usually)
2. They hurry you along and there is so much to see.
3. No pictures are allowed. They want you to buy books, and not damage the tapestries with flash.
4. Its out of the way, so a car, bus or long walk is in order from almost any tourist locale.
5. The museum doesn’t have as much commercialism as others, so the historical background for this treasure trove is not nearly as rich as other museums.
6. English is not always available for translation and even so, the jargon of armor is tough to navigate.
7. The Japanese collection is only available via reserved tour.

And now on to the Pros:

1. I have not seen a better collection of armor anywhere else in the world. The Variety, arrangement and shear depth of battle, sporting and celebratory armor here is really amazing.
2. The staff is very accommodating, although Italian is sometimes the only option; they try very hard to 'tell the story'.
3. The grounds are an excellent respite from the hustle of the city, so bring a lunch or snack and sit under the trees admiring the grounds and thinking about the effort it took to assemble all of those artifacts.
4. You get to try on armor to feel the heft and limitation of it all.
5. The collection not only contains Turkish, French, German, English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese Armor, the full suits on display are often juxtaposed such that it is quite intimidating to think of how it was worn and used in the days of old.
6. This is an estate frozen in time. All of the items used in the house at the time of its handover are all still there so it is easy melt into the 19th century, envisioning how a Railroad and Banking Barron would have lived.
7. Muskets, breast plates, lances, dragons, arrows, and more shiny sharp objects than a German knife factory!
8. The collection contains ceremonial items in such frequency that it rarely feels like I have just stepped into the local garrison. This equipment is gold filigreed and silver laden just as lords and dukes would have worn it.

Did I mention the Armor? Obviously it goes without saying at this point that there is much to see, so I will try to give you my strategy. There is so much to see, but, focus on what you want to get out of the tour. If some in your group are less into armor and more into home furnishings, trappings and period décor, have them go ahead at a faster pace (these tours are guided, but urge them to let you go or stay, if possible). Having said that, the armor is the jewel of this museum and is available only in the first 16 rooms or so. Slowly walking through this area will maximize your time needed to examine the bayonet on that musket, or peruse the carved inlay on that serpentine sword.

If you have a camera with you (they usually request that you put your back pack away), urge them to let you take pictures in the armor testing room. While donning mail, helmet, shoulder piece, rerebrace/vambrace, try to get pictures of the Turkish armor in the room as well!

The first time I visited the museum in 2003, the Japanese and Asian armor collections were just part of the tour. Now, they have separated them for some reason. As of February 2013, the tours were available Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 11am, with an extra showing at 3pm only on Saturday. I hope you can call ahead to see the additional collection. It is well worth it. Buy a book in the gift shop if you want to show your friends and family, they are available from 3 to 40 Euro.

Getting there:

I do not recommend walking from the city center unless you have a specific desire to exercise, the estate is on a hill and is quite far from anywhere you are likely to be. Take a bus, cab or car (if you have one). Parking is available on the street (or- shhhh… in the parking lot behind the gate).

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank G D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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