Museo del Bargello

Price guide: Mid-range

Via Proconsolo 4, Florence, 50122

Price guide: Mid-range

Museo del Bargello
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By Nicky Swallow, your Florence expert

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#2 of 20
expert-rated things to do in Florence
Expert overall rating:5.0 out of 5
Value for money:
Recommended for:
Couples, Culture vultures, Mature travellers, Singles, Art, Sightseeing

Expert review of Museo del Bargello

Some of Florenceā€™s most important sculptures are housed in this ex-prison.

The massive, forbidding Palazzo del Bargello was built in 1255 as the seat of the city’s government and hasn’t really changed much since then. In the 16th century, it housed the police headquarters along with a prison and torture chamber, which was in use until 1858.

You enter the museum through an impressive colonnaded Gothic courtyard where, until 1786, executions were carried out; condemned prisoners would spend their last night in the chapel on the first floor and their severed heads would be displayed on the building’s façade to discourage would-be criminals. The ground floor hall contains the most celebrated sculptures in the museum by Michelangelo, Giambologna and Benvenuto Cellini while upstairs, the Salone del Consiglio Generale houses works by Donatello and his contemporaries. Donatello’s beautiful, androgynous bronze David was one of the first free-standing male statues since antiquity. The St. George at the end of the room is also by him while on the walls hang some other fine works including two of the trial panels in bronze made by Ghiberti and Brunelleschi for the Baptistery doors.

Other rooms on the first and second floors house gorgeous displays of the decorative arts (carpets, ceramics, ivories, jewellery, clocks and watches from Europe and the east), an exquisite display of ivories, colourful enamelled terracottas by the della Robbia family, Lorenzo Il Magnifico’s medal collection and a superb collection of small Renaissance bronzes.

More information on Museo del Bargello:

Price guide:
Art gallery, Museum
Via Proconsolo 4, Florence, 50122
055 2388606
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Mon-Fri 8.15am-2pm; Sat & Sun 8.15am-5pm. Open on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Mon of the month.

Have you been to Museo del Bargello? Would you recommended it?