Bargello in Florence
The Bargello might have once been a prison, but by telling you to visit the Bargello in Florence I’m not saying you should commit a crime and get yourself arrested. Actually, I’m advocating that you visit an excellent museum of sculpture.
Florence‘s Bargello was once a palace, then later a prison (even a place where executions once took place), and was turned into a museum in 1865. The building now contains some famous sculptures from the 14th through 17th centuries. It comes in a distant third behind the Uffizi and the Accademia in terms of number of visitors, but it’s no less artistically important – so if you’re looking for outstanding examples of art without having to wait in long lines, then the Bargello is a good bet.
Some of the more famous pieces housed in the Bargello are a few lesser-known works by Michelangelo (his “Bacchus” actually looks drunk), Donatello’s bronze statue of “David” (the first free-standing male nude since antiquity), and two entries submitted to the contest held in 1401 to determine who would create the now-famous Baptistery doors.
Visiting the Bargello
Thankfully for those who are interested in seeing this fine museum, the Bargello isn’t at the top of most must-see lists, so it’s usually quite easy to get in without worrying about booking tickets in advance. It’s also cheaper to get into than the other big museums. Unfortunately, at last check, the descriptions were sadly only in Italian, so if you don’t speak/understand Italian it’s recommended that you find a good guidebook before you go that includes a walking tour of the museum. The self-guided museum tours Rick Steves does are some of my favorites.
Location: Via del Proconsolo 4, 50122 Florence
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 08:15-13:50; closed 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday, and 2nd and 4th Monday of each month; also closed New Years Day, May 1 and Christmas Day
Admission: €4.00 full price, €2.00 reduced price (EU citizens between the ages of 18 and 25), free admission (EU citizens younger than 18 or greater than 65)
There are other groups who don’t have to pay full price, so check with the ticket office to see if you qualify for reduced or free admission.
More Information: The museum’s website is here (in English).