ALREADY KNOW YOUR NEXT DESTINATION?
DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE AUDIOGUIDE
It is well worthwhile paying attention to history of the Bargello as it is long and complex. In 1250, a new magistracy was created, an event that gave rise to the need for a new palace to house the institution. Over the following centuries this palace served as the seat for several judicial authorities and, from the 15th century onwards, received the name Praetorian Palace, as it happened to house the living quarters, prisons and torture chambers of the prison administration. During the time of the Medici it was also used as a prison, up until, in the mid-18th century, the Grand Duke Leopold of Lorraine ordered all elements of torture that existed in the Bargello. Thus, in 1865, the palace was transformed into the fascinating museum it is today.
The building consists of three floors in which visitors have the opportunity contemplate a wide variety of objects and paintings, highlights of which include the extensive collection of Renaissance sculpture.
The first room to the right of the entrance features some of the best works of the late Renaissance, among which we can highlight the magnificent Bacchus by Michelangelo, made by the artist when he was only 22 years old. Works by the same artist featured here include the Madonna and Child and a wonderful bust of Brutus. Visitors should also contemplate the splendid bronze statue of Cosimo I, by Cellini, and the famous Mercury, by Giambologna.
Another interesting part of the Bargello is its inner courtyard dating from the 13th century, which features a beautiful vaulted Gothic cloister. The walls of the cloister are decorated with the coats of arms of the city's officers, governors and magistrates. The staircase built into one side is the work of Neri di Fioravanti and is used to reach the first floor gallery.
On the first floor you will see an amazing collection of bronzes animal statues created at the time by Giambologna for the Villa di Castello Medici.
If you turn to the right, you will reach a large vaulted hall that houses numerous great works of Italian sculpture. Highlights among these are two works by Donatello: the Saint George, transferred from the façade of Orsanmichele, and David. The latter sculpture is probably that which most catches the visitor's eye, especially when compared with the famous David created by Michelangelo. While Michelangelo's renowned work depicts a robust, muscular warrior, Donatello's piece portrays a delicate, androgynous, almost effeminate figure.
And finally, visitors should not miss out the museum's other rooms, which feature interesting displays of tapestries, glassware, silver and other decorative elements.
Cenacolo di Sant’Apollonia (25)
Palazzo Rucellai (40)
Piazza della Repubblica (44)
San Marco (32)
Santissima Annunziata (30)
Mercato Centrale (24)
Palazzo Strozzi (37)
Piazza della Signoria (5)
Santa Croce (8)
Via Tornabuoni (36)
Giardino dei Semplici (28)
Opificio dell Pietre Dure (31)
Palazzo Medici-Riccardi (27)
Santo Spirito (48)