If I had one morning in Florence, and I wanted to choose only one museum to visit, I would almost certainly choose the Bargello. It would have to be a morning though because the Bargello keeps confusing hours and isn’t typically open in the afternoon. The structure is a medieval barracks/fortress/prison/castle of awesome and has the best sculpture collection in the city… or possibly the second best. I waffle on this one because the museum I’m going to present tomorrow might be my favorite of all… but I digress.
Why is the Bargello a castle of awesome?
1. the Michelangelo! It’s his drunken Bacchus and it’s every bit as shiny and naked as the David, but 100% more drunk. Fun times!
2. the Donatellos!! There are SO MANY OF THEM. There’s his David, who is all sexy and flirty, there’s il Marzocco, the lion of Florence, there’s his St. George, a few busts, it is a Donatello treasure-trove. Donatello was always my favorite ninja turtle (although considering that all the others were primarily 16th c artists, whereas Donatello was firmly from the 15th c it would’ve made more sense if the Turtles were Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Tiziano– for the 16th c Venetian painter Titian, who was every bit as god-like as Michelangelo. Now I’ve really, really digressed)… Donatello is fascinating and the Bargello is the best place in town to see a whole load of his weirdo, wonderful sculptures.
3. this reason is a bit personal, but the Verrochio relief that is at the top of this post is one of sculptures that inspired me to write my dissertation. I happened to get a bit fixated on it during a visit to the Verrochio gallery one day and that, coinciding with a few other factors led to me writing my dissertation on women’s tombs in 15th c Italy (fascinating, I know). So I like the Bargello for that. That relief is also good corroborating evidence for why the Renaissance was actually really, really effing weird.
4. It’s never crowded, there is never a line, and there are never a billion people between you and the art. It has often been the case that I’ve had entire galleries at the Bargello to myself. That right there is the best reason of all.