Hall of Musical Instruments at Accademia Gallery!

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The Accademia Gallery’s Hall of Instruments is Florence’s most unique display of art where sound intertwines with history!

You can see a collection of 50 instruments over 300 years old from the Royal Medici family and worldwide.

Music lovers planning to visit the gallery’s magnificent Hall of Musical Instruments must know all about its artworks.

In this article, we’ll discover the history of the musical instruments on display in Accademia Gallery with the best tickets and visiting times! 

About the Hall of Instruments

The 50 musical instruments displayed in the Hall of the Accademia Gallery were taken from the Luigi Cherubini Conservatory.

The collection includes early pianofortes, harpsichords, wind, and string instruments!

The hall has multimedia systems, which allow visitors to listen to the sound of every instrument and hear a short explanation of how it works.

Music played an essential role in the lavish courts of the Medici family, so most of the pieces you will see are from their personal collection. 

The instruments allow you to dive deeper into the culture of ancient Florence as you discover the amount of hard work done to craft each unique piece!  

Where is the Hall of Instruments?

To get to the Hall of Musical Instruments in Galleria dell’Accademia, you must take the first right from the Hall of Colossus.

This corridor is the only way to enter and exit the Hall, so avoid visiting on days when the art gallery is crowded.

Top Highlights from the Instrument Collection on Display

The 17th and 18th century collection of the Hall includes some unique instruments, like the Serpentone, English Guitars, and many violins.

However, the three instruments below stand out most for their historical significance and are a must-see!

The Tenor Viola

Antonio Stradivari designed the famous Medici Tenor Viola in 1690 in Cremora for Ferdinando di Medici, who was renowned for his musical talents.

The Viola you see in the Gallery today is in excellent condition since the Duke did not use it much.

The violin was a part of the Medici’s quintet collection of five-string instruments made for the prince! 

It is made from wood of spruce and maple trees and has a decoration of the Medici crest on its body.

This crest is inlaid with the mother pearl, and an additional cupid design is added to the tailpiece to enhance its uniqueness!

The Accademia Gallery also displays the Violoncello, with a similar Coat of Arms design. 

The instrument you see today has a slightly modified neck position, made by the Lorraine family, who took over after the Medici family between 1737 and 1860.

This allowed the violin to play notes on a higher pitch than any other in the Renaissance period! 

Today, this viola is one of the most expensive instruments in the world, costing about €18 million. 

The Oval Spinetta

The Oval Spinetta by Bartolomeo Crisotofi is a 17th-century harpsichord instrument that paved the way for today’s modern pianoforte!

The piece is also named the Pianoforte, which has an oval shape with unique string and key arrangements.

This instrument was also crafted for Prince Ferdinando Medici, who hired Bartholomeo to work on his personal instruments in 1688.

You can find another pianoforte by Cristofori in the Leipzig University’s Museum of Musical Instruments! 

The Vertical Piano

Pianoforte
Image: Metmuseum.org

Dominico del Mela’s Vertical Piano, crafted in 1739, is the oldest piano, which stands in a vertical piano. 

Musicians believe this design is based on Bartolomeo Cristofori’s technique when constructing a vertical piano for Duke Ferdinando. 

Its body is of boxwood and Cyprus wood, and every string is struck by a small hammer when anyone plays it to make a sound.

This piano remained with the Del Mela family until the Italian government bought it in 1928! 

We recommend taking an Accademia Gallery Guided Tour to discover the history of some other instruments by Lorenzo Cerino and Niccolo Amati! 

Musicians at Court Painting

Anton Domenico Gabbani added beautiful canvas paintings peeking out from behind the instruments between 1685 and 1690.

In these paintings, you can see the portraits of all the famous, talented musicians who played in the Court of the Medici family!

Gabanni is known for imitating their faces so well that you can easily point out composer Pietro Salvatti and director Francesco Veracini.

In the space in honor of Bartolomeo Cristofori, you can see a stunning wall decorated with 17th-century paintings of musical instruments.

These paintings showcase the instruments placed elegantly on ornate tables, with delicious fruits to fill the gaps and other elements! 

The Best Time to Explore the Hall of Instruments

The Hall of Musical Instruments is one of the most visited in the Accademia Gallery.

To avoid the crowds, visit the Gallery as soon as it opens from 8.15 am to 9 am.

The crowd only lessens after 4 pm in the evening later in the day. 

Avoid visiting on the first Sunday of every month since the Gallery is free on this day, leading to a lot of crowding. 

FAQs on Accademia Gallery Hall of Instruments 

1. Do I need tickets to explore the Hall of Musical Instruments?

2. Which is the most popular musical instrument in the Accademia Gallery?

3. Who painted the canvases behind the musical instruments in the Hall?

4. What is the best time to see the ancient musical instruments at Accademia Gallery?

5. Which instrument was an inspiration for the modern piano?

7. How many musical instruments are at the Gallery of Musical Instruments?

8. From where are the instruments in the Accademia Gallery?

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Featured Image: Benningviolins.com

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