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Bargello National Museum / Palazzo del Popolo, Florence

Bargello National Museum / Palazzo del Popolo, Florence (must see)

If Florence, in general, is a paradise for architecture buffs and art lovers, then the Bargello museum is even more so. Occupying a medieval fortress, this museum houses some of Italy's most valuable sculptures and other works of art.

Also known as Palazzo del Popolo (the People's Palace), this is one of the oldest structures in the city, dating back to 1255. Throughout its history, the building has served many different roles. Early on, back in the 16th century, it accommodated the so-called Captain of the People, the police chief of Florence, called “bargello”, hence the name of the palace. After that, the Bargello Fortress served as a prison, up until the mid-19th century, upon which it was converted to a museum displaying a large collection of Gothic and Renaissance sculptures.

Among the displayed artifacts here are the works of Donatello, Michelangelo, Verrochio, Brunelleschi, and other greats. Notably, Donatello’s statue of David was the first male nude sculpture ever exhibited since ancient times, thus manifesting a turn in the history of European art. The inner courtyard of the museum is an elegant space crammed with the relief and free-standing sculptures; however, the most famous items are placed in the gallery, off the courtyard, and in the large exhibition space above. Apart from the Renaissance items, the collection includes rare artifacts from the Byzantine, Roman and Medieval eras. Alongside sculptures, you can find here jewelry pieces of the European Renaissance and Islamic origin, too. For visitors convenience, all the exhibits are accompanied by English descriptions.

***MICHELANGELO'S MASTERPIECES***
The museum houses masterpieces by Michelangelo, such as his Bacchus, Pitti Tondo (or Madonna and Child), Brutus and David-Apollo. Bacchus is depicted with rolling eyes, his staggering body almost teetering off the rocky outcrop on which he stands. With its swollen breast and abdomen, the figure suggested to Giorgio Vasari "both the slenderness of a young man and the fleshiness and roundness of a woman", and its androgynous quality has often been noted. The sense of precariousness resulting from a high center of gravity can be found in a number of later works by the artist, most notably the David and the figures on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Bacchus was carved when Michelangelo was only 22.

Tip:
To better plan your visit to Bargello, check out the museum's website in advance for opening hours, noting that on special occasions it may close rather late. Those brave enough to wander around the eerie, empty medieval building late in the evening, may find this rather entertaining.

Opening Hours:
http://www.bargellomusei.beniculturali.it/musei/1/bargello/

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Florence, Italy within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Bargello National Museum / Palazzo del Popolo on Map

Sight Name: Bargello National Museum / Palazzo del Popolo
Sight Location: Florence, Italy
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Florence, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

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Creating your own self-guided walk in Florence is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Medici Landmarks

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The Medici family helped to establish Florence as the single most important art capital of Renaissance Europe. In order to prove wealth and power, they built numerous palaces, libraries, churches, chapels and personal residences. The Medicis were big lovers of art and they acquired huge, expensive collections, as well as supporting many sculptors and painters of the time. This self-guided tour...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
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Florence Local Food Walk

Florence Local Food Walk

Food is one of the great Florentine passions, and the great thing about having a delicious authentic meal, a snack, delicatessen, or a quality gelato here is not having to spend a lot of money for it. In general, the “osterias” and the eateries nestled in Sant’Ambrogio Market will offer cheaper and more casual food with an emphasis on home cooking, but there's no shortage of “smart”...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Florence Palaces Tour

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Towards the end of the 13th century, Florentine families who had acquired power – both financial, through banking and trade, and political – began to build sizeable new palaces for themselves. The construction of the Palazzo del Popolo (now housing the Bargello museum) acted as an important catalyst in this process, having opened the translation into the private sphere. Early 14th century...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Historic Centre Nightlife

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Well known for its beautiful historic architecture and for its huge contribution to the Renaissance movement in Italy, Florence remains a vibrant, thriving center of activity that hosts not only a large tourism trade, but also attracts a lot of international students studying abroad. As such, Florence possesses a hot nightlife scene where guests from around the world can hear some amazing music...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo spent over 20 years of his life in Florence – the birthplace of the Renaissance – during which time he created some of the most beautiful masterpieces the city had ever seen. The most famous of them, the David, was larger than life, and brought a larger-than-life image to the artist. Take this self-guided walk to admire Michelangelo's artistic mastership in Florence as well...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Arno South Bank Walking Tour

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The area south of Arno river, also called Oltrarno ("Beyond the Arno"), is a quieter place but not less interesting. Here you can find the Pitti Palace whose collection of paintings is second only to the Uffizi and the vast Boboli Gardens once enjoyed by the Medici and the royal family. This self guided walk takes you to these and other wonderful places, along the way passing by charming...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles

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