Thursday, May 1, 2008

Museo Nazionale Alinari della Fotografia

The Museo Nazionale Alinari della Fotografia is located in Piazza Santa Maria Novella (in fact directly opposite of the church). The original building dates back to the 13th century and had a few lives, as a monastery, hospital, convalescent home, and prison if I remember correctly, before becoming this current museum.

The Brothers Alinari, or Fratelli Alinari, was a business founded in Florence in 1852, and is the oldest photographic firm in the world. They are still in business and are the founders of the museum. If you are interested at all in photography, this would make a nice museum stop. It’s not a huge museum, but the photos, exhibits, and layout are well done and informative. Get the audio guide for an extra 1,50 Euro on the admission price.

One interesting point about the museum to call out is the “Touch Museum” for the visually or physically disabled. How odd you might think to have aids to help visualize a photo, but it useful to all people to tell the truth. The exhibits that have an aid literally have the photo duplicated in materials you can touch and explore with your hands. Also, all the normal exhibit labels have text and Braille on them (superimposed in a way that one label serves two audiences – clever). The Peggy Guggenheim touch aid was the best. Read more on the Touch Museum.

Before entering the main exhibit there was a temporary exhibit (13 April – 14 June 2008) called Indiscrezioni – photography by Giuseppe Tornatore, writer and director of the acclaimed film Cinema Paradiso among others. His photos of his native Sicily (Bagheria to be exact in the province of Palermo) immediately evoked memories in our minds of our time spent in Palermo.

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