A year of cultural events to celebrate Stefano Bardini

Special activities about the prince of antiquarians, learning about his life, museum and wonders

On September 12, 1922, Stefano Bardini (1836-1922) passed away, a refined and astute collector and art dealer, known as the “prince of Italian antiquarians” during the 19th and 20th centuries. One hundred years after his death, the City of Florence – World Heritage Office and Relations with UNESCO, with the support of MUS.E, along with several Florentine institutions associated with the figure and legacy of the renowned antiquarian, decided to establish an Organizing Committee to narrate the life, arts, and wonders of Stefano Bardini and his eponymous civic museum. The committee organized meetings, exhibitions, concerts, thematic walks, and living history initiatives open to the general public, gradually developing a program that became increasingly rich and comprehensive. The City of Florence’s World Heritage Office and the MUS.E Association had curated a series of special initiatives to commemorate the centenary of the passing of Stefano Bardini, the prince of antiquarians.



One hundred years after his death, the city still preserves a collection of particularly evocative sites associated with Bardini’s name. It begins on the left bank of the Arno, just beyond Ponte alle Grazie, ascending the Montecucco (or Montecuccoli) hill, and culminates with the incredible Torre del Gallo castle—exquisite and wondrous testimonies to his refined taste for art and beauty. On the occasion of the centenary, these places were symbolically united through a program of special walks. Through collaboration between the Municipality of Florence, the Mozzi Bardini Gallery and Museum (Regional Directorate of Museums of Tuscany), and the CR Firenze Foundation, along with the support of MUS.E, the Bardini Walks commenced on Saturday, April 23. These walks provided an opportunity to discover the marvels of the locations owned and inhabited by the antiquarian, which housed a wealth of artistic and natural masterpieces.

In the year commemorating the centenary of the death of Stefano Bardini, the prince of antiquarians, the City of Florence, MUS.E, the Regional Museums Directorate of Tuscany, and Fondazione CR Firenze presented an extraordinary walking tour. The journey commenced at the Bardini Garden, a breathtaking viewpoint overlooking the city of Florence, where Bardini himself delighted in entertaining his international clients. The itinerary continued with Palazzo Mozzi Bardini, a medieval building transformed by the antiquarian into an extraordinary artistic workshop—a laboratory for restoration, storage, and exhibition of his works, currently owned by the State and exceptionally accessible to the public. The tour concluded with a visit to the Stefano Bardini Museum, once his refined store, which he donated to the city of Florence—a veritable treasure trove of diverse masterpieces. This walk allowed visitors to retrace the significant stages of Bardini’s ascent and relive the enchantment of his antiquarian dream, interwoven with art, nature, and the surrounding landscape.



Furthermore, the weekend of May 21 and 22 featured a series of special events. On the afternoon of Saturday, May 21, “The Wonders of the Bardini Museum: Renaissance Madonnas” took place—a dedicated visit to a captivating room in the Bardini Museum. This room houses numerous reliefs of Madonnas with Child, carefully collected by the antiquarian. Among them, the highly original Madonna dei Cordai by Donatello shines as one of the most renowned works from the Renaissance workshops. On Sunday, May 22, visitors had a unique opportunity to encounter Stefano Bardini himself through a meticulous living history presentation titled “Meeting with History: Face to Face with the Prince of Antiquarians,” developed in collaboration with Francesco Gori. This immersive experience allowed participants to listen to the antiquarian’s voice as he shared the reasons, events, and intriguing stories behind his extraordinary artistic legacy.



A program of author meetings was organized around the figure of Stefano Bardini, which took shape from June 28. On the occasion of the centenary of the “Prince of antiquarians” death in 1922, the City of Florence, MUS.E, the Regional Museums Directorate of Tuscany, Fondazione CR Firenze, and the Monumental Parks Bardini e Peyron Foundation, in collaboration with the Florence International Antiques Biennale, presented a series of special meetings at Villa Bardini aimed at exploring the life and legacy of the antiquarian, as well as the artistic community that revolved around him. The program commenced with an initial meeting involving the main proponents of the initiative, opening the doors to this evocative and vibrant antiquarian world. After a summer break, the cycle resumed on September 12, the anniversary of Bardini’s death. On this occasion, La Filharmonie performed a concert featuring music from his era, providing a chance to relive the atmospheric tones and remember this extraordinary figure in the name of the arts.

From September 19 to December 6, a series of specific appointments took place, thanks to the contributions of notable Italian and foreign experts and scholars. Each meeting offered an in-depth exploration of different and unique aspects of Bardini’s exceptional taste for art.
Antique statues and sarcophagi, Renaissance paintings, ceremonial weapons and Oriental carpets, reliefs and frames, refined bronzes, and entire coffered ceilings—these were just a few examples of the types of artworks and artefacts that collector and antiquarian Stefano Bardini loved, acquired, and traded across the world.

The celebrations were held thanks to the valuable collaboration of the following institutions: