The Costume Gallery of Florence belong to the museum complex of Palazzo Pitti.
The Palazzina della Meridiana
The Costume Museum occupies a number of rooms of the Palazzina della Meridiana (small palace of the sundial), one of the pavilions of the Pitti Palace overlooking the Boboli Gardens.
The building in neoclassical style, was built between 1776 and 1816 by the architects Gaspare Paoletti and Pasquale Poccianti on behalf of Peter Leopold of Lorraine.
The palace was inhabited by Lorraine family, Bourbon-Parma family, Elisa Bonaparte Baiocchi and Savoy family: all these dynasties have left something of their own style, both in furnishing and in interior desing and decor.
The sundial which gives the name to the building is the astronomical instrument made by Vincenzo Viviani in 1699 and placed in the vestibule of the apartment of Ferdinando de’ Medici.
In the vault of the vestibule is painted the Allegory of Time and the Arts (Allegoria del Tempo e delle Arti) by Anton Domenico Gabbiani (1693).
Costume Gallery Collection
The Costume Gallery was founded in 1983 under the direction of Kristen Aschengreen Piacenti and is home to more than six thousand pieces, including clothing and fashion accessories from the eighteenth century to the present.
Its collection includes court and gala gowns, haute couture dresses, ready-to-wear clothes, as well as theatrical and cinematic costumes.
The museum represents the history of fashion over the last few centuries and also includes creations of the most famous designers of the twentieth century, such as Valentino, Versace, Armani, Missoni and Saint Laurent.
All dresses are displayed on mannequins with body structure typical of the period in which the dress was made. The female body in fact was often changed, such as through constricting structures such as corsets.
Most of the objects of the Costume Gallery comes from public and private donations, which also include whole clothes collections of celebrities, of great historical and documentary value.
The collections also feature clothes from Sicilian aristocratic Donna Franca Florio, one of the most famous European personalities during the belle époque, and dresses of Eleonora Duse, one of the most famous Italian theater actresses.
Very interesting are also the collection of theatrical costumes gathered by Umberto Tirelli, founder of an important tailoring, and a collection of fashion jewelery of the twentieth century.
Among the rarities of the museum there are also funeral clothes of Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, of his wife Eleonor of Toledo and of their Don Garzia, who died at fifteen years because of malaria.
The heritage of gallery is enriched by an archive paper with drawings, sketches and patterns of important figures such as Thayaht, Cesare Guidi, Simonetta Colonna di Cesaro and Alberto Fabiani.
The exposition is updated regularly – every two or three years – and always organized in chronological and thematic paths, which are often complemented by temporary exhibitions of great interest.
The Costume Gallery also houses a textile conservation workshop, which is essential for the maintenance of clothing and accessories.
Galleria del Costume c/o Palazzo Pitti - Piazza de' Pitti 1 - 50125 Firenze, Italy
From Monday to Sunday
8.15 am – 4.30 pm in November, December, January, February
8.15 am – 5.30 pm in March (winter time)
8.15 am – 6.30 pm in March (summer time)
8.15 am – 6.30 pm in April, May, September, October (summer time)
8.15 am – 5.30 pm in October (winter time)
8.15 am – 6.50 pm in June, July, August
Last admission is half an hour before closing.
Closed on the first and last Monday of each month, May 1st and Christmas.
Full price: € 7,00
Reduced ticket: € 3,50
Free admission: children under 6 years old, disabled people and their helpers, authorized tour guides and leaders, teachers accompanying school groups
The ticket also allows entry to the Porcelain Museum, the Boboli Gardens, the Silver Museum and the Bardini Gardens.
Ask here for a private tour of the Costume Gallery