The Stibbert family came from Norfolk, United Kingdom. Thomas Stibbert, Frederick's father, came to Italy after having fought against Napoleon in Spain. He went to Rome and later to Florence where he met Giulia Cafaggi (who he married in Malta). They had three children, the elder being Frederick, born in 1838.
The Anglo-Italian origin influenced greatly the growth and the culture of the young Frederick. He was sent to Harrow-on-the-hill for his education but he did not accept the hard rules imposed by the school, and later to Cambridge. He was much attached to his family house in Montughi, Florence, bought by his mother when the father died.
In 1859 Frederick became of age and started to administer his inherited great wealth from his house in Montughi. He was very good at taking advantage of the many changes caused by the birth of the Italian State.
In 1866 Frederick took part in the war for Italian Indipendence and was awarded a silver medal for his valour during the battle of the Trentino.
All his life he travelled to the principal capitals of Europe making contacts with the most important antique dealers of his time. For about fifty years he worked hard at his dream of transforming his house in Montughi in an historical museum. In his last will he left the museum to the Municipality. After Frederick's death in 1906 the museum was opened to the public (1909).