The best collection of Renaissance sculpture in Italy!
The Museo Nazionale del Bargello (Bargello National Museum) has a grim history as Florence’s city prison and torturing site, but today, thankfully, it has a much peaceful purpose housing the best collection of Gothic and Renaissance sculpture in Italy.
Donatello’s David is the most famous work. His bronze nude caused a sensation in its day due to the detailing of certain body parts and a feather caressing his leg suggesting homosexuality. Controversy aside, it’s a remarkable sculpture and was the first freestanding nude since antiquity, and is even the first ever unsupported standing work in bronze. Donatello’s marble David and Saint George are also here on the second floor.
On the ground floor are Michelangelo’s Bacchus, Madonna and Child, Bruts and David-Apollo. Brunelleschi’s designs for the Baptistery doors (which lost out in the competition to Ghiberti) are also on display at the Bargello.
Don’t miss the room of terracotta works by the Florentine della Robia family or the prized Renaissance artifacts; including ceramics, textiles, tapestries and armours. The ticket includes entry into both the permanent collections and temporary exhibits.
Works from the Baroque period can also be found here, as well as a significant collection of ceramics, textile, ivory, silver and armour.
The museum has peculiar opening times, so be sure to book and on the way go via Piazza della Signoria to see copies of other famous sculptures including Michelangelo’s David.
Bacchus by Michelangelo, Brutus by Michelangelo, Pitti Tondo by Michelangelo, David by Donatello, St. George by Donatello, Bust of CosimoI by Benvenuto Cellini.
Via del Proconsolo, 4, 50122 Florence
Tuesday - Saturday: 8.15 - 13.50; open on the first, third and fifth Monday of every month.
Holidays: 8.15 - 13.50; open on the second and fourth Sunday of every month.
Closed on the 2nd and 4th Monday of every month; on the first, third and fifth Sunday of every month. December 25, January 1, May 1.