Bargello National Museum Overview

The Bargello National Museum, also known as the Museum of Bargello or Museo del Bargello, is a renowned cultural institution located in Florence, Italy. This historical museum houses an exceptional collection of art and artifacts, showcasing the city's rich artistic heritage. Originally constructed as a fortress in the 13th century, the Bargello later transformed into a prison and now stands as a captivating museum.


Within its walls, visitors can marvel at an impressive array of sculptures, including masterpieces by renowned artists like Michelangelo, Donatello, and Cellini. The museum's diverse collection also encompasses exquisite examples of Renaissance and Gothic art, medieval armor, textiles, and decorative arts, providing a comprehensive glimpse into Italy's artistic evolution. For art enthusiasts and history lovers alike, the Bargello Museum remains a must-visit destination that offers a captivating journey through Florence's artistic legacy.

What To See Inside the Bargello Museum?

Michelangelo, Bacchus, 1496-97
Michelangelo, Bacchus, 1496-97

At the Bargello Museum, you'll discover the fascinating story behind Michelangelo's commissioned work, Bacchus. It was commissioned by Cardinal Raffaele Riario, a Roman collector of antiques. Interestingly, Michelangelo's craftsmanship involved a clever twist, as he created an "artificially declining face" for an old Cupid, which has been referred to as "Michelangelo's forgery" by some.


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Bust of Brutus, 1539-1540
Bust of Brutus, 1539-1540

You'll have the opportunity to admire Michelangelo's rare creation, the Bus of Brutus at the Museum of Bargello. Commissioned by his friend Donato Giannotti for Cardinal Niccolo Ridolfi, this sculpture depicts a man who plotted and succeeded in assassinating Julius Caesar. Interestingly, it stands out as Michelangelo's only known bust with a resemblance to ancient Roman busts.


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Michelangelo, Pitti Tondo, 1504-05
Michelangelo, Pitti Tondo, 1504-05

Among the many graceful relief carvings on display, one notable piece is the Pitti Tondo. This exquisite sculpture depicts a common Renaissance theme, presenting Mary with Baby Jesus Christ and St. John the Baptist. Notably, the artwork remains unfinished, preserving its raw and authentic essence. It is believed that Michelangelo designed the Tondo in response to Leonardo da Vinci's return to Florence, adding a fascinating historical context to this captivating masterpiece. As you admire this representation of domestic art, you'll undoubtedly be enchanted by the intricate craftsmanship and the story it carries from the golden era of Renaissance art in Museum of Bargello.


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Donatello, Bronze David, 1440s
Donatello, Bronze David, 1440s

Adorning the esteemed halls of the Museum of Bargello, the Bronze David stands as an unrivaled masterpiece by Donatello. Commissioned by Cosimo de Medici, this extraordinary sculpture depicts the biblical tale of Goliath and David in a radical free-standing nude form. Its captivating presence not only mesmerizes visitors but also left an indelible mark on Michelangelo, who drew profound inspiration from it when creating his iconic David. The Bargello Museum's Bronze David is a testament to the enduring legacy of Renaissance art and its profound influence on subsequent generations of artists.


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Donatello, Marble David, 1408-09
Donatello, Marble David, 1408-09

The Bargello National Museum houses two remarkable sculptures of David, each crafted by the talented artist Donatello. The Marble David, created 30 years prior to the Bronze David, showcases an expressionless face and static pose, revealing Donatello's early work. Despite its initial lack of liveliness, Donatello's artistic brilliance later transformed the sculpture from Gothic to Renaissance classicism, garnering widespread acclaim. Remarkably, Donatello completed this masterpiece at the age of just 22.


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Donatello, St. George and the Dragon, 1416
Donatello, St. George and the Dragon, 1416

This extraordinary masterpiece by Donatello - the captivating narrative of St. George and the Dragon. This exquisite sculpture weaves a heroic tale, portraying St. George valiantly defending a princess from a menacing dragon. As you wander through the museum's halls, immerse yourself in the artistry and historical significance of this remarkable work. The dynamic and skillful craftsmanship of Donatello comes alive, leaving visitors awe-inspired by the profound storytelling captured within this renowned sculpture. A visit to the Bargello Museum offers a unique opportunity to delve into the timeless allure of St. George and the Dragon, a true gem of artistic heritage.


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Donatello, Marzocco, 1416
Donatello, Marzocco, 1416

The Marzocco, an impressive gray sandstone heraldic lion, is prominently displayed in Piazza della Signoria, representing Florence's civic militia who valiantly defended the city. Resting his paw on shields, he proudly holds the flag of Florence. This iconic symbol of protection and civic pride can be admired at the Bargello National Museum in Florence, Italy. Don't miss the opportunity to explore the museum's rich collections showcasing historical and artistic treasures.


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Bernini, Bust of Costanza, 1636-37
Bernini, Bust of Costanza, 1636-37

Inside the Museum of Bargello lies the mesmerizing Bust of Costanza, a captivating sculpture with a profound tale. Crafted by renowned Baroque artist Bernini circa 1636, it portrays Costanza Bonarelli, the elegant and learned wife of his assistant. This masterpiece narrates a poignant chapter of Bernini's life, where he fell deeply in love with Costanza, inspiring him to create this exquisitely beautiful portrait. The sculpture stands as a testament to both the artist's talent and the emotional complexities of human relationships.


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The Competition Panels
The Competition Panels

It offers a fascinating glimpse into the Competition Panels, which were created for the 1401 contest in Florence to design bronze doors for the Baptistry of Florence Cathedral. Ghiberti and Brunelleschi emerged as finalists, but with the result ending in a tie, Brunelleschi declined to collaborate with Ghiberti. Consequently, Ghiberti claimed victory in the competition. Visit the Museum of Bargello to explore these historically significant panels and delve into this intriguing tale of artistic rivalry.


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Giambologna, Flying Mercury, 1580
Giambologna, Flying Mercury, 1580

Giambologna, a prominent sculptor following Michelangelo, established his unique late Renaissance Mannerist style, heavily influenced by his predecessor. Among his acclaimed works are four versions of the Flying Mercury, which likely drew inspiration from Cellini's Perseus statue. Notably displayed at the Bargello Museum, this masterpiece remains a celebrated creation of Giambologna, showcasing his exceptional artistry and skill in sculpting during that era.


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Benvenuto Cellini, Perseus, 1545-54
Benvenuto Cellini, Perseus, 1545-54

"Perseus" is a captivating bronze artwork by Benvenuto Cellini, situated in Piazza della Signoria's Loggia dei Lanza. The masterpiece portrays the mythological tale of Perseus rescuing Athens from the petrifying gaze of the terrifying Gorgon Medusa. Notably, Cellini claimed this sculpture as a symbol of his family's ancestry. The sculpture's gripping narrative and intricate craftsmanship make it a must-see attraction for art enthusiasts visiting the Bargello Museum in Florence.


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Andrea del Verrocchio, David, 1473-75
Andrea del Verrocchio, David, 1473-75

In the renowned Museum of Bargello, visitors can marvel at another masterpiece named "David," crafted by Andrea del Verrocchio. Diverging from Donatello's depiction, this sculpture portrays a clothed young man confidently wielding a sword. With a charming smile and a carefree demeanor, the statue exudes grace and arrogance, evident in the hand placed confidently on his hips. The artwork symbolizes the ascent of power and showcases Verrocchio's exceptional skill in capturing both poise and youthful energy in stone.


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Baccio Bandinelli, Adam and Eve, 1551
Baccio Bandinelli, Adam and Eve, 1551

It houses the renowned sculpture "Adam and Eve" by Baccio Bandinelli, a significant yet relatively lesser-known Renaissance artist. Originally intended for the Florence Cathedral, the artwork faced controversy due to its provocative and sensual portrayal. Despite criticism, visitors are captivated by the sculpture's mesmerizing faces, which exhibit innocent eyes set wide apart, adding an element of allure to the masterpiece. The Bargello National Museum remains a popular destination for art enthusiasts seeking to admire Bandinelli's skill and the intriguing charm of "Adam and Eve."


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Bartolomeo Ammannati, Fountain for the Sala Grande, 1556
Bartolomeo Ammannati, Fountain for the Sala Grande, 1556

The Fountain for the Sala Grande was initially commissioned in 1555 to celebrate Florence's first water supply. Symbolizing Florentina's allegory representing the good government of Medici, it was later disassembled and scattered within the Boboli Gardens. Eventually, the fountain was meticulously recreated and reassembled at the Museum of Bargello, where visitors can now admire its historical significance and artistic brilliance. This restoration project has preserved a vital piece of Florence's history and serves as a testament to the city's rich cultural heritage.

Giambologna, Oceanus, 1576
Giambologna, Oceanus, 1576

Inside the Museum of Bargello, the grand Oceanus fountain stands as one of Giambologna's most significant works. Although not as intricately detailed as some of his other sculptures, the imposing statue exudes a mystical aura in the museum gardens. Visitors are captivated by the sheer size and presence of Oceanus, marveling at its artistry amidst the museum's impressive collection. It offers an enriching experience for art enthusiasts, showcasing renowned masterpieces and hidden gems from various periods.


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Know Before You Go To Museum Of Bargello

Essential Information
How To Reach
Essential Information

Location : Via del Proconsolo, 4, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy.


Opening hours: 8:15 am to 6:50 pm on Monday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and from 8:15 am to 1:50 pm on Wednesday and Thursday. It is closed on Tuesday.


Best time to visit: The best time to visit Bargello National Museum in Florence is during the early morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds, allowing you to explore its stunning Renaissance art and historical treasures peacefully.

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Highlights
  • Witness the excellent masterpieces of famous artists i.e. Donatello's David and Michelangelo's Bacchus as you visit the renowned Bargello National Museum

  • Explore one of the oldest buildings of Florence and grab an opportunity to learn about the history of the prison made in the 18th century

  • Admire the magnificent artworks created by well-known artists i.e. Giambologna and Gian Lorenzo Bernini while strolling through the museum

  • Gain insight into Rome's ancient culture as you see various masterpieces like Portrait of Brutus and Tondo Pitti in this Renaissance museum

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Must Know Before You Go
  • All foreign nationals must share their passport and visa details at the time of arrival.
  • ID proof is mandatory for each individual guest at the time of arrival.
  • Infants aged 0-17 years can go for free and children aged 18-25 years will be charged as per child price. Adult tickets are applicable for visitors aged 18 years and above. EU citizens with valid IDs can book child tickets.
  • Under-12s need to be accompanied by an adult.
  • Make sure to be there 15 minutes before your timeslot.
  • Last admission can be done 40 minutes before closing.
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FAQs

How long does it take to visit Museum of Bargello?

    You can comfortably explore Bargello Museum's famous art collection in one to two hours, taking in Michelangelo's four masterpieces and discovering the works of other renowned artists without feeling overwhelmed.

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