National Museum of Bargello – Florence

Via del Proconsolo, 4, Firenze
Toscana, Italy
closed on: Mondays, second and fourth Sundays of the month
Museum Type: Art
Bargello Museum Florence Inexhibit

The Bargello National Museum (Italian: Museo Nazionale del Bargello or simply Il Bargello) in Florence is a museum of fine and applied arts, most renowned for its large collection of Italian Renaissance sculptures.

Building and site

The Bargello is housed in an imposing red-brick palace dating back to the 13th century, known as the Palazzo del Podestà or Palazzo del Bargello (a medieval term that once indicated the highest-ranking police officer of a city).
The three-story palace was built in 1255, after a design by architect Lapo Tedesco, as a police headquarters, tribunal, and prison.
Converted in 1865 into a museum, the Bargello was the first Italian museum exclusively dedicated to medieval and Renaissance art.
Notable sculptures, including the Ocean statue by Giambologna and the Musicians group by Benedetto da Maiano, are on view in the palace’s porticoed courtyard.

Museo del Bargello Firenze courtyard

National Museum of Bargello, courtyard; photo: Francesco Gasparetti 8CC BY 2.0).

Collections of sculpture and decorative arts

The Bargello sculpture collection is mostly, though not exclusively, composed of works by Florentine artists of the 15th and 16th centuries, and includes masterpieces by Michelangelo, Donatello, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Giambologna, Andrea Sansovino, Bartolomeo Ammannati, Andrea and Luca della Robbia, and Benvenuto Cellini, to name just a few.

The permanent exhibition of the museum is divided into both thematic and chronological galleries and displays a number of sculptural masterpieces such as the Bacchus, the Pitti Tondo, the Apollo, and the Brutus, all by Michelangelo; Saint George, and the bronze David by Donatello; the David by Andrea del Verrocchio; and the Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini, among many others.

The museum also features collections of ivories, ceramics, glasses, silvers, coins, and other objects of decorative arts, dating from antiquity to the 19th century.

Situated in the heart of Florence, roughly midway between the Cathedral and the Uffizi Gallery, The Bargello Museum includes a temporary exhibition space and a bookshop.
The building is largely, though not completely, accessible to physically-impaired people and organizes special tactile tours for people with visual impairment.

Museo del Bargello Florence Donatello Room

Bargello, the room of Donatello and 15th-century sculpture; photo: Darren & Brad (CC BY-NC 2.0).

David Donatello Museo del Bargello Florence

David Donatello Museo del Bargello Florence 2

Donatello (Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi), David, ca. 1440, bronze; photos: Eric Parker (top) and Darren & Brad (bottom)

Museo del Bargello Firenze Bacchus Michelangelo

Michelangelo Buonarroti, Bacchus (detail), 1496–7, marble; photo: Darren & Brad

Cover image: National Museo of Bargello, Florence; photo © Inexhibit

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