Bargello Museum is just a block down from the Piazza della Signoria. It is on the corner of Via del Proconsolo and Via Ghibellina. Via del Proconsolo is the road that leads around the back end of the Duomo.
The building itself is fascinating with terrific architectural detail. I was amazed at the building’s history. It is one of the oldest buildings in Florence that dates back to 1255. It was an old stone police station and then a prison. It has galleries on three levels around a center courtyard.
Bargello Museum has some amazing works of statues in marble and bronze. It houses beautiful paintings, frescoes, ceramics and architectural gems. It also has masterpieces by Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Donatello and Verrochico to name a few.
Michelangelo’s Bacchus is here. It was just riveting to observe the god of wine raising his glass while the little guy is going for the grapes. This is one of Michelangelo’s first works after his arrival in Florence. There is also the two-sided Brutus in this room. Take some time and look at the two sides of his face to see the different expressions.
There is an outstanding collection of busts of Florentine notabilities. I loved the bust of Michelangelo. It gives you a really good idea of what the great artist looked like. You can see two different takes on the subject of David by two great artists, Donatello and Verrochico.
Bargello Museum has many other treasures. I really enjoyed the rooms that displayed hundreds of pieces of carved ivory, Venetian glass, silver, terra cotta and rare Islamic treasures. They also had a case full of exquisite cameos.
Don’t forget to check out the armor and weapon display. There is an entire floor dedicated to the magnificent ceramic art of the Della Robbia family.
The courtyard has more and the staircase leads to the upper loggia and its sculptures. One of the most interesting things in the Bargello Museum is the long line of shields. They belong to the chiefs of police in Florence; these shields line the walls of the interior courtyard. There is a 17th century bronze cannon commissioned by a Medici Grand Duke for the Fortress of Pisa. While you are there take notice of the well in the courtyard. That is where they had hanging executions back when it was a prison.
The balconies and staircase in the inner courtyard also provide some terrific photo opportunities.
Bargello Museum is on a smaller scale than some of the others that you might have visited.
The museum was not over crowded. This allows you to take your time to sit and enjoy the magnificent surroundings without too much disturbance. You could easily spend a good half-day going around Bargello Museum as there is so much more to see.
I was very impressed with the art at the Bargello Museum and I will definitely return. I highly recommend a visit here.
Phone number: +39 055 238 8606
Address: Via del Proconsolo, 4, 50122 Florence, Italy
Hours: Monday 8:15 am – 2:00 pm