'The world that was not there.' Pre-Columbian art in the Ligabue collection

The Archaeological Museum of Florence revives the ancient American civilizations

From 19 September 2015 to 06 March 2016


An absolutely unique exhibition in Firenze at the Archaeology Museum in Florence, 'The world that was not there' is entirely dedicated to pre-Columbian art.
Until 6 March 2016, masterpieces from the important private collection of the Venetian archaeologist Giancarlo Ligabue will be on show: valuable evidence gathered by the Medici dynasty and historical artefacts lent by international museums will take you on an incredible journey back in time to discover the ancient Mesoamerican and South American civilizations. 

But what is the connection between the exhibition of pre-Columbian art and the Archaeological Museum of Florence?
Although it has never been the capital of the great colonial empires, Florence, since the 16th century, has been enriched by historical exhibits of great ethnographic interest coming mainly from the Americas, thanks to the Medici dynasty: notoriously interested in collectibles, the noble Florentine family used to send its officers overseas to lands to seek treasures of this kind.

There are more than 120 objects on display at the National Archaeological Museum of Florence on the occasion of 'The World that was not there' (Il Mondo che non c'era), one of the most beautiful exhibitions in Florence in Tuscany in 2015. Some of them are considered rarities, such as a small jade mask that belonged to the Aztec civilization, a second mask in green onyx by the Teotihuacan culture and a rich collection of classic vintage vases that, thanks to the carvings and decorations present, represent a valuable testimony on writing and Mayan culture.

The exhibition in Florence 'The world that was not there', promoted by the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Tuscany - National Archaeological Museum, Florence  the Centre for Studies and Research in Venice and produced by Ligabue Spa, sees the exhibition of unique pieces from the Medici collections, the Musée du Quai in Paris and other major international collections. But the heart of the exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum of Florence will be a wide selection of artefacts belonging to the oldest American cultures, never exhibited before and belonging to the Ligabue collection.

This fascinating exhibition in Florence in 2015 also wants to be a way to celebrate the great Venetian archaeologist Giancarlo Ligabue, who died recently. Great scholar of anthropology, palaeontologist, explorer and avid collector, Ligabue organized and coordinated more than 130 expeditions around the world, participating in the excavations and finding very rare pieces, now preserved in various Italian museums.
With the passage of time, Ligabue could give life to a valuable collection of artefacts and objects of art from different cultures and therefore created an extremely interesting pre Columbian collection.

Through the Ligabue Study Centre founded by his father more than 40 years ago, his son Indi now plays an important work of outreach and scientific and cultural research.

The artefacts belonging to the Ligabue Collection will be the centerpiece of the exhibition 'The World that was not there' at the Archaeological Museum in Firenze, which will allow you to discover the gods, myths, games, socities and artistic skills and techniques of people of South America and Mesoamerica.

In the period of the discovery of the Americas these objects definitely had a great ethnographic value: Spanish settlers, who brought their findings to Europe, were welcomed by the crowds and the heads of state with great enthusiasm and wonder towards the new and exotic things that had never been seen until then.

Unfortunately, this is evidence of cultures that have disappeared: such as the Peruvian Moche and Nazca and those Olmeca in Mexico, even before Christ, and others, such as the Inca, Maya and Aztec, with the violent arrival of the Spaniards Conquistaderos who without an ounce of humanity wiped out entire populations. Only modern archaeological research and expeditions in South America, such as those organized by the Ligabue Studies, allow us to discover and to learn more about these ancient civilizations, otherwise known only through exhibits imported or diaries written by travellers of the time.

It took four centuries for Europe to learn about the beauty and the importance of ancient American art and it is for this reason that many facets of the extraordinary cultures even today remain a mystery to many archaeologists that revolve around this magical world.

Among the current exhibitions in Florence, you should not miss 'The World that there was there' at the National Archaeological Museum in Firenze, open to the public until 6 March 2016, a fascinating exhibition of items of ancient pre-Columbian art that belonged to the civilizations exterminated by the Conquistadores.

And if you have a few days off, book one of our fantastic hotels in Florence and discover with us the infinite beauty of the city of Florence!


'Humanity is one and we cannot forget that in the history of the world there are no first or second, large and small, but that in every people we can find the origins, principles and roots of what we are today'      [Cit. Giancarlo Ligabue]


Exhibitions in Florence 2015 present the pre Columbiam exhibition 'The World that was not there'.

Location: Archaeological Museum Florence, Italy

Dates: 19 September 2015 to 6 March 2016

By Insidecom Editorial Staff


Period: From 19 September 2015 to 06 March 2016

Event location: Florence

Contacts: Archaeological Museum of Florence hours, timetables and tickets at www.archeotoscana.beniculturali.it

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