One of Florence's most underrated museums is set in one of the city's oldest buildings. The Museo del Bargello is a highlight for those who love sculptures - it has an incredible collection that includes works by Michelangelo, Cellini, Giambologna, Bernini and Verrocchio. Two rooms are dedicated to the Della Robbia ceramics, while several sculptures by Donatello are surrounded by works completed by his pupils. There are also busts of prominent Florentines completed by important artists of the time.
There are rooms full of decorative arts, as well, such as ivories, medieval glazes, porcelain, and Venetian glass. Renaissance gold and jewels are an interesting glimpse into the period's opulence.
The building itself makes the trip worthwhile. Built in 1255, it was the palazzo dei capitani (captains' palace, the rulers of the people), then the seat of the Podesta' (chief magistrates of the Middle Ages), and then the palace of the bargello, the Commander of the police forces. It was the where the Council of OneHundred met, of which Dante was a member. The courtyard is lovely, with the walls affixed with the coats of arms of the previous rulers.
The Bargello Museum is open from 8:15 AM til 1:50 PM. It is closed on certain Sundays and Mondays, and advance reservations are recommended. Reserve through a booking agency or the official website.
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Address in Florence:
Via del Proconsolo, 4.
Ph. (+39) 055 238 8606.