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A „porcelain palace“ to rival any in Europe
Rastatt Favorite Palace
Pietra dura panel of a horse in the Florentine cabinet, Favorite Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Stone panels from FlorenceThe Florentine cabinet

The Florentine cabinet is an artistic highlight at Rastatt Favorite Palace and in this form, unique in all of Europe. The walls are covered with 758 illustration panels of various materials and lend the small room a special atmosphere.

View of the Florentine cabinet, Rastatt Favorite Palace. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Lutz Hecker

The Florentine cabinet.

Where did the “Florentine cabinet” get its name?

The cabinet is named after the pietra dura panels, precious lapidary artwork from Florence. They are from the Cosimo III de’ Medici factory, who ruled as the Grand Duke of Tuscany's from 1670 to 1723. The “pietre dure” panels, Italian for “hard stones”, were worked using the “commesso” method. Paper-thin plates, made of marble, granite, and semi-precious stone, were assembled into radiant illustrations.

Pietra dura panel in the Florentine cabinet, Rastatt Favorite Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele

Ornately worked pietra dura panel.

The illustrated panels

Landscapes, still lifes, flowers, fruits and birds: a total of 55 pietra dura panels can be experienced on the cabinet walls. Images have also been laid into the top of the large table. Other materials were used for the remaining wall panels, such as slate with mother of pearl flowers, or wood with lacquer painting. A fascinating ensemble with many hidden treasures!

The miniature portraits

The Florentine cabinet is part of heir Ludwig Georg's apartment and also served him as a “textbook” for science and taste, and learning about great artists and rulers. Rhombuses in the mirror glass hold 165 portraits, each only a few centimeters big. Below these: the busts of important painters, such as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt and Michelangelo.

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Miniature portraits: Matthias Grünewald, Matthäus Merian and Michelangelo.

Playing cards in the scagliola floor of the Florentine cabinet, Favorite Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Playing cards in the scagliola floor of the Florentine cabinet.

The floor

The floor is an elaborate scagliola. Ornamentation, insects, birds and small animals are depicted in the radiant stucco marble, along with playing cards and a checkerboard with inset semiprecious stones. However, looking at the floor also reveals that the floors are delicate and the centuries have taken their toll. Therefore, the decor requires additional protection. But not to worry: by glancing into the cabinet without entering it, the floors can continue to be preserved.