Musee Fesch

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Palais Fesch houses the Fesch Museum right in the middle of Ajaccio. In the Italian city of Ajaccio on Corsica island, the Musée Fesch is the premier art gallery. Cardinal Joseph Fesch (1763-1839), Napoleon's maternal uncle, archbishop of Lyons, and primate of the Gaul, gathered an impressive collection of paintings that are currently on exhibit. He had a significant impact as a major supporter of the arts and was a great admirer of art.

A thousand paintings from Fesch's exceptional collection were left to Ajaccio in order to fund the Institute of Arts and Sciences he envisioned founding in his hometown. Upon his passing, he left behind a collection of over 17,000 artworks, of which over 16,000 were paintings. To this day, the only paintings on display at the museum are all that remain of this exceptional private collection devoted primarily to Italian painting, which was formerly one of the largest of its kind.

The Musée Fesch is renowned worldwide for its extensive collection of Italian art, which spans the centuries from the 14th to the 18th and features works from every region and school in Italy. Besides the Louvre, it has France's most extensive collection of Italian art. Along with fascinating pieces from the Flemish, Dutch, German, French, and Spanish schools, the collection also features a sizable Napoleonic-era area honoring the forefathers of the institution.

What to see at Musée Fesch?

  • Upon entering, the first thing that greets you is a statue of Cardinal Fesch by Second Empire sculptor Vital Dubray that stands in the courtyard.
  • Works on display in the Museum's Napoleonic rooms on the ground level were offerings or bequests. Some of these notable bequests date back to 1836 by Fesch, 1892 by the Duke of Treviso, 1896 by Baron Larrey, 1896 by Prince Napoleon Jérôme, and 1936 by Bacciochi.
  • Numerous glass cases display unique pieces of Napoleonic artifacts, from rudimentary ceramics and Napoleon-shaped pipes to spectacular statues and groups of statuettes.
  • Exciting artwork, rare coins and medals, and even Charles Bonaparte's sword can be found in the second room.
  • The third room features the huge painting of Débarquement des troupes alliées en Crimée by Pils. It also displays portraits of Princess Mathilde, King Jérôme, and the Countess of Castiglione. An amazing replica of the Belle Poule, the ship that returned Napoleon's body from St. Helena, is also on display.
  • The Fesch Library's 50,000 volumes can be found in the building's north wing.
  • On the southern wing, you can find the Imperial Chapel, where the cardinal and his family are laid to rest.

  • imageDuration Required
    3 hours

Address of Musee Fesch

50 rue du Cardinal Fesch, 20000 Ajaccio, Communaute, Agglomeration du Pays Ajaccien, Corsica France

Opening & Closing time of Musee Fesch

  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Saturday
  • Sunday

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