NileGuide Expert tip:
A small museum with a whole lot to see and learn how these precious works were created.
- The opificio (factory) is a national institute specializing in teaching the Florence craft of producing inlaid pictures using marble and semi-precious stones. The 16th-century flourished with the art of pietre dure where Florentine artisans devoted their time and energy to the craft. The Medici founded this institute and craftsmen have been in this building since 1796. The museum holds pieces like 19th-century workbenches, tools, vases and portraits displaying pietre dure work. "Florentine mosaic" coined by the tourism industry is a refined craft in which skilled artisans create scenes and boldly colored intricate designs in everything from cameos and tabletops to never-fade stone paintings. These artisans are trained at selecting, slicing, and polishing stones so that the natural grain or color in the cross sections will become the contours, shading, and molding that give good pietre dure scenes their depth and illusion of three-dimensionality.