The Bargello Museum is housed in one of the oldest civic palaces in Florence, a beautiful medieval building that was once the headquarters of the Captain of the People and later the Podestà, before becoming the residence of the Bargello (the head of police) and a prison.
In the 1800s, the palace was transformed into a large museum of Renaissance sculpture, boasting one of the most important collections in the world and a selection of works by Gothic-era and 15th-century minor guilds.
On the ground floor, you’ll find the Hall of the 15th-century, with four statues by Michelangelo – Bacchus, a relief with the Madonna and Child, Brutus and David-Apollo – and works by Sansovino, Benvenuto Cellini, Ammannati and Giambologna, the last of which is featured with pieces such as Mercury and the bronze animals made for the grotto at the Medici Villa di Castello.
In the large Hall of the 13th-Century on the first floor, some works by Donatello are on display, including the famous David, made in bronze in 1440 and considered a perfectly harmonious Renaissance masterpiece, as well as Saint George, moved here from his niche outside Orsanmichele, another version of David – this one in marble – Atys and Marzocco. There are also pieces by Brunelleschi, Ghiberti and Luca della Robbia.
The second floor houses sculptures from the late 1400s by Verrocchio, Rossellino and Pollaiolo.
But the museum’s collections don’t end here: you can enjoy splendid ivories from the Roman and Byzantine eras, Renaissance jewellery, medieval enamels and Venetian glass. Not to mention the section of glazed terracottas by Andrea and Giovanni Della Robbia, the bronze David and Lady with Primroses by Verrocchio and the bust of Costanza Buonarelli by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.