History of the Museum
Located on a hill not far from the Padule of Fucecchio in the direction of Florence, the complex of buildings which characterizes the Rocca of Cerreto Guidi, rises on the area of an ancient castle already ruled by the Guidi counts, a great Tuscan family from whose name derives also the composite toponym that includes the indication of the place of Cerreto. The town was already quoted on a document of 780, according to which three noble brothers from Pisa donated a little church, in town of Greti, to the Benedictines of San Savino near Calci.
Inside of the original defensive walls, still readable on the contours of the town planning (also from above), there is also the pieve of Saint Leonard, near to which, Cosimo de’Medici at that time Duke of Florence and Siena, build a hunting residence with simple features but with an important symbolic value as a territorial stronghold of the new centralized power. Maybe it is not an accident that, just in the simplicity of the system, we can find some characters expressed from the senese architect Pietro G. Cataneo in his treaty of 1554 (The first four books of architecture…). printed in Venice at the time when Siena fell under the control of Florence (1555). At that time started the construction of the “palazzo” that the documents testify as “murato di nuovo” (rebuilt) in 1566. The villa had a more residential organization when it passed to the cardinal Leopoldo de’Medici, as confirmed by a record from the State Archive relative to the passages of the property of the building, previously belonged (in order) to Don Giovanni (1563-1621), Don Pietro (1554-1604)and Don Lorenzo (1599-1648).
When the Asburgo Lorena administration set the hand-over of the villa, 29 May 1780, the value was fixed 4740 scudi and the sale was completed in favour of the Tonini family of Pistoia. From 1821, the villa property passed to the Maggi of Livorno, that realized the access track that ends on the churchyard of the Parish of San Leonardo, furnished, at that time with a massive portico that connected the core of the villa with a building called the “fattoria”. The Villa then passed to the Geddes from Filicaja, marquises of Florence in 1885. It was refurnished again. The decoration of the first hall encountered by the visitors was commended to the painter Ruggero Focardi. On that hall the author reproduced other residences and dwellings of the family.
Acquired in the 1966 from Galliano Boldrini it was donated three years later to the Italian Repubblic with the clause that the building should became a National Museum. From the 28 september 2002, the the villa accommodates the “Historical Hunting and Terrotorial Museum”. A mono-thematic collection of arms, mainly from hunting and shooting, selected in nearly thirties years between those donated from the authorities and otherwise destined to the destruction. To these have been temporary annexed some donations, temporary loans, and some remarkable pieces of the “Eredità Bardini”, acquired in 1996 from the State. The arms are exposed in showcases conceived in the early 1900s from the Rangoni company (still existing to which it has been entrusted also the restoration) to protect the valuables and chinas of the “Museo degli Argenti di Palazzo Pitti”. The arms are concentrated at first floor.