Best Museum in Florence: the BARGELLO! Or… is it second best?

dying in childbirth SUCK (image via wikipedia)
dying in childbirth SUCKS (image via wikipedia)

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.

Castle of AWESOME (image via wikipedia)
Castle of AWESOME (image via wikipedia)

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!

tipsy! image via wikipedia
tipsy! image via wikipedia

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.

sexy! (image via wikipedia)
sexy! (image via wikipedia)

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.

and it has a pretty courtyard! (image via wikipedia)
and it has a pretty courtyard! (image via wikipedia)

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.


10 thoughts on “Best Museum in Florence: the BARGELLO! Or… is it second best?

    1. thanks, but I have to credit wikipedia for them. Photos aren’t allowed in the Bargello and while I do have some anyway (I am a champion photo sneaker) my computer’s photo library is still screwy forcing me to rely on good ol wikipedia.

  1. I’ve been loving these posts! I am sad that you didn’t include the Peggy Guggenheim in Venice. I love the Peggy (as I affectionately call it).

    I will say Donatello’s David is my favorite. That helmet, the curls, the stance!

    1. Thanks Mal! I’ve actually never been *in* the Venice Guggenheim, only on the grounds– it’s always been closed when I’ve meant to go– poor planning on my part! I’ll have to make a point of it the next time I’m in Venice. And I might have to agree about Donatello’s David, he’s so sassy!

    1. I prefer knives at sunset, but I’m down to duel either way! I’m conflicted about it myself though– Bargello is my morning number one and the other is my afternoon number one… I’ll run it all down tomorrow, then we’ll see if we have to fight.

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