Botanical Museum Florence

The Botanical Museum as such has existed since 1842, a fairly late date in comparison with the other Florentine museums. Its formation is essentially the work of the Grand Duke Leopoldo II of Lorraine who profited from the expert help given by the internationally famous botanist Filippo Parlatore (Palermo 1816 - Florence 1877). They gave the already existing collection impetus by the creation of a Herbarium which they wanted to call the 'Central' to indicate its importance as Italy's principal example. And in fact it remained for a long time the richest in Italy and one of the world's best. Parlatore furthered this end by the donation of his own herbarium and a skilful policy of exchanges and purchases.

Of particular importance were the Cesalpino, Targion Torzetti and Webb collections; the last having around 80,000 plants was added to the collection in the midnineteenth century.
Also in the nineteenth century precious plant collections such as the tropical herbarium were added, sufficient to fill twelve large rooms of the Botanic Institute of the University: the present collection consists of around four million examples.

Only one large room is open to the public, in which are exhibited various mixed examples: vegetable samples, plant models, old herbariums and botanical manuscripts.
Of note also are the superb wax models by Calamai and Tortori (early nineteenth century) and a spendid painted herbarium manuscript of the end of the fifteenth century.

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