The Stibbert Museum is one of the most fascinating and unexpected places in Florence. It is a house-and-museum which was designed by its owner, Mr. Frederick Stibbert, a wealthy English resident born in 1838, son of an English Colonel and his Florentine wife. He inherited a large fortune and, thanks to his agents all over the world, managed to create a Collection which is unique in its genre, comprising works of art from Europe, the Middle East and Japan; he brought together under one roof different ways of life and combat, and organized his museum using modern ideas which are still valid today.
The Collection, which boasts more than 36,000 pieces, is arranged according to didactic and evocative progressions through the house, which was designed and restored to this end by Stibbert himself, and is divided into two main nuclei: the first, composed of the parts of the villa in which he lived, shows the rich furnishings typical of aristocratic society during the second half of the 19th century; the second is made up of his Collection of arms and armor which, scenically placed by the genius of their owner, were divided up to form the European armory, the Islamic armory and the Japanese armory.
His eclectic taste, the same curiosity about the past and exoticism which characterizes the interiors of the Museum, can also be found in the large park that surrounds the villa. Copses, pavilions, statues, false ruins and a small Egyptian temple mark seemingly casual, suggestive, naturalistic walks, arranged according to a romantic vision of gardens which represents yet another innovation carried out by Stibbert, considering the Florentine cultural environment of the time.