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Michelangelo's secret room in Florence opens soon to public

Published October 31,2023

A long-hidden room in the Museum of the Medici Chapels in Florence, where Michelangelo is said to have hidden in 1530 from the Medici family, will soon open to visitors, the museum's owners said on Tuesday.

The Renaissance artist is believed to have stayed in the secret room for two months to escape the vengeance of the powerful Medici family, who ruled Florence for over three centuries.

The small room was discovered by chance in 1975 when the museum was looking to create another exit for visitors. During the renovations, coal sketches were discovered under two layers of plaster.

The fine charcoal sketches on the wall were attributed to Michelangelo, Bargello National Museum director Paola D'Agostino said on Tuesday. The Medici Chapels are part of the state-owned Bargello group of museums.

Previously, the room had been used to store coal, D'Agostino said.

Only four visitors at a time will be allowed to visit the "secret Michelangelo room" as of November 15, she said.

The Medici burial chapels are popular with tourists and their palaces and art collections still leave their mark on the city today. There are numerous Michelangelo sculptures in the chapels.

In the course of a revolt that drove the ruling family into exile, Michelangelo betrayed his former patrons and allied himself with their opponents.

When the family returned to power a few years later, the artist feared for his life. He reportedly hid in the room for two months, planning new works with his wall sketches.

After he was free again, it turned out that Michelangelo had nothing to fear and resumed his duties in Florence.