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The House

Casa Siviero is a small, 19th century villa on the banks of the River Arno, on the corner between Lungarno Serristori and Piazza Poggi. Its location at the foot of the steps leading to Piazzale Michelangelo and its Neo-Renaissance architectural style, typical of Giuseppe Poggi, leads us to believe that this architect, who was responsible for the urban redevelopment of Florence at the time when the city was Italy's capital, was also involved in the design of the house.

 Before the war, the house belonged to  the art historian and critic Giorgio Castelfranco. The Castelfranco family, of Jewish origin, due to Fascist racial persecution, fled Florence. After the war, they sold the house to Rodolfo Siviero. Castelfranco and Siviero had been friends since the 1930s. He played an important role in the cultural development of the young Rodolfo and his entry into important cultural circles of Florence. As the Director General of the Italian Ministry of National Education in 1944, Giorgio Castelfranco contributed to  directing the work of the secret agent Siviero to include gathering information on the theft of works of art by the occupying Germans. Siviero himself remembers how Castelfranco's abandoned home became the base the group of partisans who, l ead by Siviero, tried to counter the Nazis' plunder of Italian artworks. During the German occupation, Siviero hid the documents, that would later enable him to recover the works of art, between the pages of the books in Castelfranco's library. It is a well-known fact that Giorgio Castelfranco was a great friend and benefactor of the famous painter, Giorgio De Chirico, who was a frequent guest in the house along Lungarno Serristori during the 1920s. Castelfranco owned a rich collection of De Chirico's works (35 paintings and over 100 drawings), In 1939, Castelfranco had been forced to sell his collection in order for his family to flee from Italy. Nevertheless, some paintings, including a portrait of Matilde Forti, Castelfranco's wife, painted by De Chirico in 1921 and two other works by the great master from the Castelfranco collection can still be seen in Casa Siviero
The house was built on four floors. The basement was used by the servants. It was  also used for the storerooms. The basement is currently closed to the public. Renovation plans include the re-building of the basement to house an exhibition on the life and work of Rodolfo Siviero. 
The first floor, slightly higher than ground level, was Rodolfo Siviero's apartment. This is the part of the house currently open to the public as a museum. Most of the furnishings have been restored to their original position at the time of Siviero's death in 1983. Slight variations have been necessary to ensure the safety of the works of art. Others, which were the property of his sister, Imelde, have been replaced with works from Rodolfo Siviero's apartment-cum-office in Rome. Lastly, the most significant works originally found on the second floor have been moved and displayed on the first floor because the upper floors of the house are unfit for use.
 The upper floor of the house was where Rodolfo Siviero's parents and sister had their apartment. In his will, Siviero left this apartment to Imelde Siviero until her death, after which it was to be left to the Region of Tuscany. This part of the house is currently closed to the public. Renovation plans include the opening of this part of the house as a museum.

On the top floor of the house there are two small apartments which will be converted for use as office space and an archive.

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