At the peak of the Renaissance, the Republic of Florence played a key role, birthing not only the movement, but also the artists associated with this time period.
With time, the influence of Florentine merchants and artists reached Rome. They settled across the Tiber River from the Vatican. Today, few legacies from this community remain, untouched by the growth of the Eternal City.
"With a series of six rotating exhibits, about one per year, we want to rebuild a part of Rome, a part of the city that was lost due to urban renovations.”
The exhibit, aptly named "Erased Rome,” is on display inside the Musei dei Fiorentini. The complex includes the Basilica of St. John of the Florentines, a church linked to the Medici family. Up the stairs, in the museum, the first in the six-part series of exhibits focuses on the Oratory of Saint Ursula. The small church was the first worship site for Florentines in Rome.
Artistic Director, Museo dei Fiorentini
"Here, we've been able to recover the San Giovanino, attributed first to Donatello, and then to Michelangelo. We also found several marble fragments, including a large altar-ball, which was at the counter-facade, and a fresco. All the objects in the exhibit were uncovered in fragments hidden for over one hundred years.”
Other sites "erased” over time, and the focus of future exhibits include the Florentine Hospital. Already, the Museum hosts several pieces recovered from its destruction, including two busts that Gian Lorenzo Bernini completed at an early age.
The U.S.-based non-profit Legamina is the driving force behind many of the restoration works now featured in the exhibit. Ongoing restorations include two chapels within the Basilica of St. John of the Florentines. Their reasoning is simple.
"If we don't remember these sites, who will? Deep down, it's a problem about memory. In a sense, all of these urban renovations have contorted the city.”
The "Erased Rome” exhibit will be on display until October. But the Basilica and the Museum are permanent, living reminders of a once thriving Florentine community, at the heart of Rome.