Opificio delle pietre dure. Florence.
In my opinion, this is a jewel of a museum, and something completely unique. It was a huge surprise and definitely will be in my top ten.
This museum is located 2 minutes’ walk from the Academy Gallery where the famous Michelangelo’s David can be found and for which there is a very long queue. People come to see David and so this museum does not receive many visitors - unlucky for them but lucky for you, because you can enjoy their amazing works of art alone and in peace.
The famous Medici family started a trend of giving as a present to all of their guests a table made with decorative inlays of marble and granite. These were hugely expensive and time-consuming to create, as well as beautiful, and served to prove how wealthy and powerful the family were. There aren't many of these works of art in the world because of their price, the skill needed to create them, and because some of the stone needed does not exist anymore.
The museum is tiny but you can see pictures, portraits and tables made with “pietre dure” and also stones with different colours and uses and all the tools involved in the creation of these special works of art.
They need to advertise this amazing place more and offer some postcards for visitors to buy, because they do not allow you to take photos.
By all means, go to see the statue of David, but then visit this incredible museum.