people queue and swarm to the accademia, the uffizi or the pitti. however the bargello, situated in the heart of the city, houses some of florence’s finest art. i went there this morning at 10h30am – the rooms were almost empty, we were able to basque in the beauty of the renaissance. it was free for eui people, but tickets were cheap in any case (4 euros).
the bargello is a morning museum, open from 8h15 in the morning to 2h in the afternoon, monday to sunday. it was built in the 13th century and, whilst it was always tied to the justice system (or those who ran it), it was only in the 16th century that it was turned into a prison. (see the mary magdalene church below where men sentenced to death would stay before being executed.) i think it is from the mid-19th century onwards that it became a national museum showing sculptures (big and small) of the early renaissance period. michelangelo, donatello, tribolo, these names resonate through the corridors and rooms of the bargello.
downstairs, after you enter through the gift shop, you stumble upon a beautiful courtyard from where you access the first room housing the michelangelos:
michelangelo’s bacchus (1496-1497)
(his ‘drunken gaze’ was ‘not appreciated’
by michelangelo’s patron, cardinal riario,
who sold bacchus to a rich banker
before the medici’s purchased it and gave it to the uffizi gallery)
then, take the outdoor staircase up to the terrace from where you enter the first floor rooms. these consists of a sequence of rooms and corridors all linked together.
the terrace is stunning
but as you walk along you’ll discover beautiful treasures
like the mary magdalene church
or this room
with a truly moving sculpture of david.
the bargello will give you the most beautiful start to your day. thank you david & phillip for your company and remarks on renaissance art, the medicis, and crotchless chaps.
via del proconsolo, 4
(second floor was closed)