Gemstones, Crystals and Minerals in Florence.

It took a little effort to push away the guilt one has from being a home-body when Florence is on your doorstep. But we relaxed nonetheless; this past weekend the boys and I took the weekend OFF.

Anthony and Caleb are doing a great job getting their homework done early in the weekend, so they can relax guilt-free (great job guys!). Relaxing: Caleb did some sketching, Anthony caught up on emails, I made food. We watched a few movies, played cards and stayed cozy.

Lest we feel like we are becoming the cushions on the couch, we decided around mid-afternoon on Saturday that we best walk out the door, if only for a walk around the block. A last minute plan came into focus: we decided to visit the Mineral Museum in Florence, something we had been meaning to do for some time. Caleb is very taken with rocks, gems, minerals and crystals.  (There is a fabulous mineral store right near the Piazza San Annunziata, which he frequents).

So we walked up past the Duomo, past San Marco and entered the Museum. Well, one of the museums (associated with the University of Florence). We found out that you can buy a super cheap pass that gets you into a pile of exhibits/museums and gardens. Good from now until mid May!

So Saturday and then Sunday: we found more minerals, crystals and animals (see highlighted 'visits' in RED below), ate lunch out and played cards at a nearby cafe. All in all a good, restful weekend.

Here are the details for the cards (I paid 10 euros for myself, and only 4.50 euros for the boys, aged 7-18. If you are over 65, a student or a family you earn an even more reduced fare):
  • called the FIRENZE SCIENZA CARD, it is good until May 9, 2010.
  • Entrance into Palazzo Medici Riccardi
    • including entrance to the Chapel of the Magi by Benozzo Gozzoli, Luca Giordano's Hall and Filippo Lippi's Madonna.
  • Entrance into Science and Technology Foundation---Physics Cabinet.
  • Entrance into Museum of Natural History 'La Specola' and Zoology section. (Sunday we visited the zoology section, but will need to make reservations to visit the 'La Specula' aka Observatory).
  • Entrance into Museum of History of Science (includes some of Galileo's instruments; is about 1/2 block from our house!).
  • Entrance into all sections of Museum of Natural History of the University of Florence. THIS includes:
    • Anthropology and Ethnology
    • Mineralogy and Litologia
    • Geology and Palaeontology 
    • Botanical Garden
  • discounts at some hotels, restaurants and shops.
  • special day of free visit (on March 14 only) to research labs plus activities hosted by University of Florence by Openlab (Science & Technology dept).
  • reduced fares for:
    • Orchestra della Toscana
    • One performance from Association of Florence Theater
    • Art and Illusions (Palazzo Strozzi, temporary exhibit); Anthony and Caleb both visited this exhibition for a class field trip.
    • Crystals. At 'La Specola.' (amazing).
    • for these museums: Palazzo Vecchio, Bardini Museum, Stibbert Museum, HP Horne Foundation, 'Paolo Graziosi' Florentine Museum and Institute of Prehistory.
You can buy tickets at many of the above mentioned places, or online at www.firenzescienza.it


  1. Anonymous4.2.10

    Awesome! What a deal. Happy your boys got a chance to see many more rocks and minerals at the museum. Great job fostering their curiosity and observations of the world around them! Enjoy. Where do I sign up to join you on your exploits?

  2. It is so fun to watch them develop hobbies and interests, favorite games, music, places, food... sigh. I am planning a road trip to Elba---another great spot for minerals and gemstones! Thanks for following!

  3. My husband would love that museum as he is interested in rocks and minerals. Unfortunately we are just a little too far away to make Firenze a day trip.

  4. LindyLouMac: Have you ever been to Elba? Any suggestions?

  5. Anonymous6.2.10

    I've had to play a little 'catch up' on your posts (again), but they are so wonderful to read. I know I must write the same thing every time I comment, but this year-long adventure is so amazing!! I feel privleged to just get to read about it. Would you seriously consider writing a book about this time in Italy? I think it would the ultimate guide book.

    Thank you (again) for sharing this most amazing time in your lives with the rest of us!


  6. I have a fascination with rocks and minerals too, as does Griffin. That museum sounds wonderful.

  7. Barb: I love your comments! You are too kind! It means the world to me that you stop by.

    Kate: the museum really was fantastic; tomorrow we are going to another museum! Maybe Galileo?

  8. Janelle, Sorry not made it to Elba ourselves yet, even though we have been visiting Italy for years and now live here. Shame on us!


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