History and description of Villa Pecori Giraldi
Villa Pecori Giraldi was built on an ancient Giraldi family building. In 1748 it became the property of Count Antonio Pecori Giraldi (he added to his surname Giraldi). It was donated to the Borgo San Lorenzo Municipality in 1979 and after a long restoration, it was opened to the public in 1999. The villa, built on two floors, features a Renaissance-style façade, surmounted by a crenellated tower (restored in 1902).
From the main door you access the large entrance hall, the main point of the whole villa, the entrance hall adorned with beautiful paintings and majolica. The interior spaces began to be painted at the end of 1800 by Angiolino Romagnoli (1836-1890), a painter of Borgo San Lorenzo. Pietro Alessio and his son Pius Chini began decorating the villa in 1854.
The decoration of the noble part of the building was entrusted to Leto Chini, whose participation is most likely recognizable in the medieval inspired paintings of the entrance hall. Between 1906 and 1911, Galileo Chini continued to adorn the entrance hall. Here are mainly the coats of arms and business of the noble Florentine families related over the centuries with the family Pecori Giraldi and those related to their illustrious components. The villa and the decorations were damaged by the 1999 earthquake. The decorative restoration work was entrusted to Tito Chini and his uncle Pietro.
After abandoning the Ceramic Art, Galileo and Chino Chini founded in 1906 a new factory at Borgo San Lorenzo: Fornaci San Lorenzo. In addition to ceramic production, the factory produced glass specimens such as chandeliers, lamps and various kinds of glass. The factory was destroyed by an air bombardment in 1943.
Today Villa Pecori Giraldi hosts the Museum of the Manifattura Chini and a small Children’s Museum.
Chini Manifatture: The Collection
In 1896 Galileo Chini, together with Vittorio Giunti, Giovanni Montelatici and Giovanni Vannuzzi founded a new factory: The Art of Ceramics. This project was born with the aim of reviving in Florence a new moment of glory in the ceramic sector. The factory became immediately important both in Italy and abroad. In addition, four members of the Chini family join together with the four original members: Chino, Augusto and Guido. The success of these ceramics is due in particular to their modern connotations, designed by Galileo Chini, artistic director of the company. In spite of the successes that had come to fruition, there was a misunderstanding among the members. The Ceramic Art closed in 1909.
The beautiful works can be discovered through a museum path, organized according to the various periods of Chini’s activity in the ceramics and glass sectors.
- Salotto del Fumo: It is from this room that begins the path. Here you can see the works of 1920-1939 of Fornaci San Lorenzo. All are made in Art Deco style, where stylized geometric and vegetables motifs are used, very intense colors.
- Sala degli stemmi: in this room are depicted the coats of arms and the business carried out by the various members of the family Pecori Giraldi and the noble Florentines related to it.
- Sala del caminetto grande: the protagonist of this room is without a doubt the great ceramic fireplace. The exterior features a relief in Renaissance style with coats of arms of the Pecori and Giraldi family. In the interior, however, there are tiled geometric tiles created by Galileo Chini. At the top of the walls is a strip of stylized floral decorations and grape bunches.
- Scala elicoidale: along the staircase you can look on the walls of the motifs to fake upholstery, with white and black lozenges. The top is decorated with trilobate bows. Originally in the right wall, in front of the window, was the family tree of the Pecori Giraldi family, made of tiled majolics by the Fornaci San Lorenzo on Chino Chini’s design. At present there is an image that reproduces, on a small scale, this work and also the original sketch. From the ceiling comes a wrought-iron chandelier and decorative glass shapes, made in the 1920s, always from the Fornaci San Lorenzo.
- Decorative elements for architecture: in this room you can see various works made at the beginning of the twentieth century at L’Arte della Ceramica (1896-1904 ca.) and Fornaci San Lorenzo (1906-1944 ca.).
- Production of “L’Arte della Ceramica”: here are exhibited the fine production of L’Arte della Ceramica (1896-1904 ca.). This is a significant core of works, conceived by Galileo Chini, which illustrates the high quality achieved by this factory. The Chini were the first to produce grès in our country.
- Saloon of the early twentieth century: in this room is reproduced a real living room in the twentieth century thanks to the works of the Chini family. You can see an elegant table in the ’20s with shelf in grés, conceived by Galileo Chini.
- Fornaci San Lorenzo, the glass: in this section are exhibited the glass works of Fornaci San Lorenzo. In addition to lamps and chandeliers, you can admire a large amount of stained glass especially with religious subjects reported in a rather academic way.
- Fornaci San Lorenzo, grés: with this type of ceramics we can guess how the Chini have been original. The grés used by Chini is of a fairly clear color and is often decorated in cobalt blue with stylized motifs of fawns, palmette, endorsable and geometric motifs. Generally, they are salty grains, ie the surface covered by a transparent glass film obtained from the reaction of sodium chloride in the oven flame. In the corridor parallel to room 9, there is a space dedicated to the various components of the Chini family.
- Fornaci San Lorenzo, majolica: this is the most used ceramic material from the Chini family. Also in the Fornaci San Lorenzo several works were created with this material.
- Fornaci San Lorenzo, the lunettes: at the point where the is the stairs to access to the tower ends, the museum path ends. The room houses a large robbian lunette attributed to Augusto Chini. In a neighboring room there is a large majolic glazed tiled lunette conceived by Galileo Chini, which has many similarities to the bezel above the access door
- Summer (April-October): Thursday-Sunday 9-13 and 15-19
- Winter (November-March): Saturday-Sunday 10-13 and 15-19
- January 1st
- April 25 (if it does not fall from Thursday to Sunday)
- May 1
- June 2 (if it does not fall from Thursday to Sunday)
- August 15
- 25 and 26 December.
- Full ticket: € 3,00
- Reduced ticket (Under 15, Over 65, Group Passengers minimum 10 people): € 1.50
- Free Admission: Disabled, Under 6, Guides and Tourists, Journalists, Edumuseicard Passes, Classroom Teachers.
- Italian-English guided tours: € 6,00 (min. 20 people)
Small Children’s Museum: Chini Lab
Chini Lab is a museum dedicated entirely to children located insiede Villa Pecori Giraldi. It was designed with the purpose of stimulating children’s creativity, learning and autonomy thanks to the game. Every space is created specially for them, where every space can be discovered without the help of an adult. Within the Museum you enter without shoes.
The available areas are as follows:
- Knowledge: a place where you can tell and hear stories. Books are the protagonists.
- Art: On the walls there are paintings on which children can create their artwork.
- Light: Children can create stories through light beams projected on the wall.
- Music: In this room there is a totem made with musical instruments.
- Science: children can experiment and observe trajectories and speed of the balls that pass inside colored tubes, elements that oscillate, and liquid and powder iron which assumes strange shapes in contact with magnets and balance games.
- Infinite City: children are invited to build different places with wooden material made available in a dark room, lit only by a sourch of light on the floor and with background music.
- Exploratory: In this lab there are two elements: clay and colors, with which children can enjoy creating artwork.
- Line of perfumes: essences located along a wall that joins several experiential rooms.
- Hand games: This is a gift offered by the Seto Design studio in Tokyo that presents unusual photographs that have our hands as protagonists.
- Giochiancoraingioco: This area is designed to lengthen the lives of the children’s toys through the exchange and exchange. Anyone can bring their own game in good condition to ChiniLab and evaluate it in full autonomy with “Gambling Banknotes”
- Documentary: It is a place that hosts the drawings of all those who have lived at least one day at the Museum.
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 -12: 30 and 15:00 -18: 30
- January 1st
- April 25 (if it does not fall on Saturday or Sunday)
- May 1
- June 2 (if it does not fall on Saturday or Sunday)
- All month of August
- December 8 (if it does not fall on Saturday or Sunday)
- 25 and 26 December
- Full ticket: children 3-13 years € 1,50 Escort € 3,00
- Reduced ticket (including over 65): € 1.50
- Free admission: disabled, under 3, 2 nd escort, teachers with school
The congress center at Villa Pecori Giraldi is made up of equipped meeting rooms, with a courtyard inside the open air (Corte del Pozzo) and a Liberty Pavilion with large windows.
Villa Pecori offers a wonderful setting to organize memorable events.
The available rooms are as follows:
- Sala congressi: 100 seats
- Sala Camino grande: 80 seats
- Sala Camino piccola: 35 seats
Chini Museum: phone and fax 055-8456230
Lab Museum: phone and fax 055-8456230
Address: P.le Lavacchini, 1 Borgo San Lorenzo (Florence)