The Art History Department will host “The Restoration of the Bargello in 19th-Century Florence: Creating a Memory of the Middle Ages” as the first lecture in its Memory and the History of Art Lecture Series. Presenter Dr. Nancy Thompson, of St. Olaf College, will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, in the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium.

“The antique Palazzo del Podestà, built by the architect Arnolfo, and currently being returned to its primitive form with a well-conceived restoration, is one of the principal monuments of the past greatness of the Florentine people.”  

~ Bettino Ricasoli, 1859

Ricasoli issued this decree on the restoration of the Bargello in his new capacity as the provisional head of the Florentine government following the departure of the last Habsburg Grand Duke Ferdinand II from the city. While the restoration began in 1854, the work to transform the civic monument into a museum illustrating the history of Tuscany took on new urgency in the newly independent Florence.

Florentines attempted to return the Bargello to its medieval state out of a desire to resurrect past political and artistic values and excise the period of Medici and Habsburg rule from their city’s memory. Restored to its 13th century state by 1860, the Bargello became a symbol of the Florentine people’s sovereignty over their own city and history. 

For more information contact the Art History Department, (651) 962-5560.