Pretorian Palace Museum
Since the 1990s, Peccioli has believed in the possibility of a dialogue between its medieval history and contemporary art, through an operation aimed to introduce site-specific interventions into the urban structure, such as the installations “Fonte” [“Font”] and “Chiacchiere” [“Talks”] by Vittorio Corsini, or “Colonna che scende” [“Column that descends”] by Hidetoshi Nagasawa, up to “Acropoli” [“Acropolis”] by Vittorio Messina and “Ospiti” [“Guests”] by Fortuyn / O'Brien, just to name a few.

For over twenty years contemporary art has been merging with the urban space, talking of a place and its inhabitants and establishing a dialogue between the present, the past and some ancient iconographic languages. All this was renewed with the New Opening of the Praetorian Palace Museum.

The old palace housed the Museum of Russian Icons “F. Bigazzi”, inaugurated in 2000, which over the years has become a place of conservation and exhibition of two collections of icons, for a total of about 200 works on display: the Bigazzi and Belvedere collections, which are periodically increased through well-aimed and careful purchases of selected works.

The Museum is enriched by the Collection of Engravings and Lithographs – Vito Merlini Donation, a collection of works ranging from informal to figurative art, up to metaphysics: 279 sheets among engravings, lithographs, woodcuts and serigraphs collected by Vito Merlini, a physician from Peccioli, who donated them to the Municipality in 2006.

The old palace, dating back to the medieval age and refurbished at the turn of the 19th century, was the symbol of the political power’s centrality over the centuries. Today it has become the fulcrum of Peccioli’s organization as to museums and exhibitions, comparing and connecting contemporary art with an art of seemingly distant places.

Collection F. Bigazzi and Collection Belvedere S.p.A.

The Bigazzi Collection, which allowed the opening of the Museum of Russian Icons in 2000, is characterized by the presence of predominantly Russian icons dating back to the 18th - early 20th centuries. These typical domestic icons, painted both with tempera, according to the traditional technique, and with oil, according to an “academic” methodology. The Belvedere Collection, unique of its kind, presents wooden icons with a singular and unusual peculiarity: dating back to the 18th – 20th centuries, they come from all over the Orthodox world (Russia, Armenia, the Balkans, Constantinople, Estonia, Jerusalem, Greece, Ionian Islands, Latvia, Mount Athos, Romania, Transylvania and the Ukraine) and they are dated, signed or they have a dedication. A whole section, a unique case in Italy, is dedicated to bronze crosses, icons and polyptychs, among which an extremely rare baptismal cross dating back to the 15th century. Most of these objects are typical of the production of the Russian Old Believers.

Collection of Engravings and Lithographs – Vito Merlini Donation

The Collection of Engravings and Lithographs – Vito Merlini Donation was born in 2006 thanks to a philanthropic act by Vito Merlini and by the will of the Municipal Administration and Belvedere S.p.A., in the belief that precisely in the etymological meaning of the word “γραϕία” [“grafìa”] understood as “sign, drawing, engraving” resides the poetics of the work of art realized in the immediacy of the graphic gesture, which does not allow hesitations and repentance, always keeping a character of simplicity and freshness.

The collection consists of 279 sheets including engravings, lithographs, woodcuts and serigraphs: a collection of works that fully present and summarize the Italian art scene of the 20th century.

There are many pure engravers whose works are part of the donation (Viviani, Piacesi, Bartolini, Zancanaro, Gulino, Mongatti, Greco, Morena, Parigi, etc.), in addition to the painters and sculptors who devoted themselves to the practice of engraving and lithographic techniques with extraordinary results: Baj, Breddo, Carrà, Guerricchio, Guttuso, Possenti, Morlotti, Maffi, Manzù etc. There are many other prominent names: Carla Accardi, Annigoni, Cantatore, Dorazio, Fattori, Goya, Marino Marini, Miró, De Chirico, Dalí, Saetti, Sassu, Scialoja, Soffici, Vangi, Vittorini.

Vito Merlini, a physician from Peccioli, was a man with a multifaceted personality. He permeated many aspects of community life: he was an actor and the President of the Philharmonic Society, as well as the President of the Peccioli Cycling Union and of the Football Club.


Tuesday 9 am – 1 pm
Wednesday 3pm – 7pm
Saturday, Sunday e holidays 10am – 1pm, 2pm – 7pm

Closed on New Year's Day, May 1st, August 15th, Christmas and during the afternoons of the New Year's and Christmas eve.


Free entry

Schools and groups can request guided tours outside the opening hours at the Organizing Secretariat (fax +39 0587 670831)


Praetorian Palace Museum
Piazza del Popolo, 5
56037 Peccioli (PI)
Tel. +39 0587 672158
Tel. +39 0587 672877

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  • Piazza del Popolo 10 - Peccioli
  • 0587 672158