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Bargello Museum Florence, Italy

An Artistic Journey

Can you imagine a prison being converted into one of the most fascinating museums in Florence? Well here’s a fantastic surprise for you…

Bargello Museum Florence ItalyDiscover an imposing palace with the aura of mystery and ancient secrets. Open the door and walk into an amazing collection of sculptures, paintings and artifacts that sweep you off your feet into another world, another time and place…Can you imagine a gory scene where executions took place in the palace courtyard? Swept clean of all its skeletons in its closet the Bargello Museum takes the mind by storm with a spectrum of art and the fascinating facets of exquisite craftsmanship. Come and experience an artistic journey through the maze of time.

Situated on the Via del Proconsolo, 4, 50122 Firenze, the Bargello Museum was at first an impressionable stone palace which was commissioned in 1255. Visualized as a fortress and arsenal by the Faction of People, it became the office of the Captains of the People (Podesta). Though it was used for important functions in the 13th century, it was utilized as a town council. Housing the Chief of Police later in 1574, the Bargello Museum was converted into a prison in the 18th century. It was here that ghastly executions took place in the courtyard of the palace. Far away from the main streets, the Bargello Museum is an imposing building with three storeys and a tower overlooking a magnificent courtyard. Known for its beautiful sculptures, the museum houses a huge array of artefacts and works of famous artists. The legendary series of sculptures of ‘Davids’ by Donatello take the sculpted route of history from the Tuscan style into the the well-proportioned forms of the Renaissance period. The Bargello Museum houses the famous and intricate Baptistery doors by Brunelleschi and the works of the Andrea and Giovanni Della Robbia.

Expressions of Talent

Step into the Bargello Museum and stare in awe at the works of art that hold a spiritual aura. Walk into the first floor and discover the Tuscan talent of the old masters, Michaelangelo, Cellini, Bandinelli and Ammannati. Wander through the maze of floors whose rooms dazzle with a spectrum Renaissance collections that include, Islamic bronzes, ivories, Venetian glass, jewelery, wooden sculptures and enamel work. With the Bargello Museum’s collection of over 30,000 pieces of art, the sculptures take on an all consuming air giving the other pieces of art a refreshing ambience.

Woven with the tapestry of history, the works of the great artists are dedicated to the spirit of the Renaissance with important works of Michaelangelo, Donatello and Giambologna. The rooms on the top floors are filled with 14th century sculptures that are spectacular and a must-see experience. Sculpted with emotion and reality, Michaelangelo’s Bacchus was created in 1497, as the artist’s large first free-standing work. Threaded with a classical touch, Michaelangelo has infused the reality of the Renaissance influence with an obviously inebriated Bacchus in the classic posture of the god of wine who cannot hold his liquor with even the cup tilted at a precarious angle! Michaelangelo was twenty-two years old when he created ‘Bacchus’ while he was visiting Rome and he finished and polished this lovely work in the tradional style. With artistic zeal, Michaelangelo sculpted the Pitti Tondo in 1503, typical of the schiacciato fashion of the Madonna and Child, delicate in form and round in structure. The ‘Apollo-David’ by the talented master was followed by a wonderful bust of ‘Brutus’ in 1539, which was represented by some as the mirror of Michaelangleo himself. But another sculpture by his pupil, Daniele da Volterra bears more resemblance to the artistic sculptor and artist.

The museum also houses 16th century armory along with Giambologna’s ‘Flying Mercury’, (1564), which has been sculpted with the essence of aerodynamics with the impression of the statue actually seeming to fly from its moorings. Accompanying the beautiful landscape of seemingly living and breathing works of art, the ‘Madonna of the Rose Garden’ by Luca Della Robbia is one of the exquisite pieces of terracotta. Donatello’s ‘David’ a nude first free-standing bronze piece is an excellent piece of workmanship of the Renaissance period. The palazzo showcases in its Gothic architecture of 1255, premier works of art of the Florentine times.

An Ethereal Grace

Experience a medieval ambience as you walk into the palazzo’s inner courtyard which is one of the few to retain its original structure. Embedded with coats of arms of the ancient ‘podesta’ and noble families, the courtyard also holds the valuable assets of the museum. Make your way up the magnificent stairwell to the second floor loggia and discover a veritable aviary of bronze birds by Giambologna which was intended for the gardens of the Medicis. Breathe in the old world charm as you walk through a doorway which leads into the ‘Salone del Consiglio Generale’ (General Council Room). Huge with a high ceiling, this room is decorated with glazed terracotta works of Madonnas by Luca Della Robbia and his family along with other notable pieces of sculptures. The Room of the Majolica in the La Salle delle Majoliche comprises of works of exquisite art of 1888, from the workshops of Urbino, Siena, Orvieto and Firenze.

The many facets of Donatello are exhibited in a series of charming sculptures. ‘Cupid’ with its suppressed mischievous smile stands close to the mysterious polychrome bust of ‘Niccolo da Uzzano’ while Desiderio da Settignano’s pert featured sculptures entice the eye with a special magic. Coming back to Donatello, his magnificent ‘Marzocco’, the lion symbol of the Florentine Republic was sculpted out of pietra serena in the years between 1418 and 1420. Donatello’s marble ‘David’ is mild compared to his bronze ‘David’ which exhibits maturity with an almost seductive air. Going ahead, you find ‘St. George’ which was sculpted in 1416, for a niche of Orsanmichele with the ‘schiacciato’ style.

A Tour of Art

As you traverse the length of the room, you find two relief panels to the right, by Brunelleschi and Ghiberti of the ‘Sacrifice of Isaac’, both eloquent and outstanding. As you go into another room, the La Sala Islamica, the ‘Islamic Collection’ greets you with the atmosphere of the vast trade of adventurous Florentines with oriental carpets and delicate pieces of art. Roman art of the 16th century is strewn in delicate abandon through the corridor at the end of which is the ‘Cappella Maddalena’ where the prisoners who were condemned to death spent their last precious hours on earth praying for their souls. Worked on at Giotto’s studio, the Cappella Maddalena is both historic and beautiful. Adding to its beauty, the La Sala degli Avori or the Room of Ivories holds the largest collection of ivories in the world from the 5th to the 17th centuries. The ivory collection is from the Carrand collection with 265 works which include sacred and pagan themed diptychs, wings, caskets and panels. The rooms on the top floor houses the glazed terracottas by Andrea and Giovanni Della Robbia, but there is another precious room dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci’s mentor and guide, Verrocchio, where you will find a proud ‘David’ whose head of hair is sculpted in studied disarray.

The Bargello Museum which was established in 1865 showcases the influence of the Renaissance sculpture and adds to its accolades with masterpieces by Andrea del Verrocchio, Michaelangelo, Donatello, Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Luca Della Robbia, Cellini and Jacop Sansovino and other notable artists and sculptors. With an incredibly remarkable collection, the Bargello Museum offers the world an array of sculptures and wonderful pieces of art. Enhancing a most spiritual and ethereal range, the museum has added to its repertoire, ecstatic collections of bronzes, furniture, enamels, waxes, amber, medals, seals along with majolica, textiles, ivories, tapestries and textiles from historical families of the Medicis and other notable collectors.

Creativity at its Best

Come and enrich your life at the Bargello Museum with its splendid collections. Let the history of a long-forgotten past revive itself in a beautiful series of inspiring works of art that reach out and touch you with the spirit of the talent of life. Experience the creativity of Michaelangelo’s Bacchus and Brutus. Lose yourself in the many facets of Donatello’s David. Give your mind imaginary wings and fly with Giambologna’s Mercury. Just imagine the great Leonardo’s teacher’s work of art, the Young David right in front of you and Cellini’s Ganymede sculpted with a precious and awesome air.

If you want to explore the secrets of the old masters then come to the Bargello Museum, it is on the Via del Proconsolo 4. The opening hours are:

Monday- Sunday: 8:15 am- 1:30 pm every day
The Bargello Museum is closed on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday and 2nd and 4th Monday of each month on January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1 and December 25

4.00 Euro
3.00 Euro reservation fee

You can also reach The Bargello Museum by bus: Bus A, 14 or 23
The phone number is: 055-238-8606


The museum is closed on the 2nd and 4th Mon and 1st, 3rd, and 5th Sunday of each month.

Reserve your tickets at: Phone No: 055-294-883 or

The Bargello Museum offers a lifetime of memories and an experience that you deserve!