When you dare to step into History, sometimes wonder and reverence pierce you like pain. It’s very hard for me to describe the overwhelming feelings I was experiencing last Saturday, when I first visited the house where Michelangelo Buonarroti was born.
Tucked into the chestnut tree-lined hills of Eastern Tuscany, I finally visited the birthplace of one of the world's most famous and prolific artists and genius of mind: Michelangelo Buonarroti. This place is called Caprese Michelangelo and is nestled on the Apennine Ridge in the lush Tuscan Tiber Valley. Despite centuries of battles between Arezzo and Florence, the Castle of Caprese resisted and became the last medieval bastion of the valley. The ruins of this ancient fortification can still be seen today. The rivers and the vast expanse of surrounding forests create a breathtaking scenery, as the chestnut tree hills around Caprese are punctuated with rows of olive trees, small vineyards, fields of sunflowers.
Michelangelo was born in the Palazzo di Podestà or the Palace of the Mayor. His father, Ludovico di Buonarroti Simoni was sent to govern Caprese every six months for the Republic of Florence and as fate would have it, Michelangelo was born there on March 6, 1475. On the 9th February 1913, by Royal Decree, the name Michelangelo was added to the older name of Caprese, in honour of its most famous citizen. The memory of Buonarroti continues to live on today in the Church of St. John (where M. was baptized), the Palazzo Clusini (where M. was born and the seat of the Municipality today), the Stronghold Rooms, in which old plaster moulds from the Florentine galleries can be found, and the striking open-air Sculpture Museum. Opened in 1964 as part of the celebrations commemorating the four hundredth anniversary of his death, the museum’s origins actually date back to 1875 when Caprese celebrated the fourth centennial of the artist’s birth.
From a museographic perspective the site is unfortunately and totally not worth the visit, as it can be said it’s not at the height of Michelangelo’s fame. Nevertheless, walking the threshold of HIS home-place should be an emotional experience and privilege worth traveling from every corner of the world. Blessed I was here.
“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.”
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