The city of Florence was a great protagonist of the Italian Renaissance; it hosted artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Michelangelo and Andrea del Castagno, as well as patrons such as Cosimo de Medici and Filippo Strozzi the Elder. In Via del Proconsolo there is museum which houses Medieval and Renaissance artworks, and it is located in the Palazzo del Podestà; its name is Museo Nazionale del Bargello (National Museum of the Bargello).
The Palazzo del Podestà, which was chosen as the seat of a museum dedicated to the history of Tuscany, was restored between 1859 and 1865, and on June 22, 1865, it became the first national museum about Medieval and Renaissance artworks. During Donatello’s celebrations in 1887, the hall on the first floor was chosen to house some of his artworks. In 1888 the collection of the antiquarian Louis Carrand (over 2500 works of Gothic and Renaissance arts) was donated to the museum, which later received the Ressman and Franchetti collections.
The façade has a Gothic style, and some Podesta’s coats of arms are on the entrance hall. The courtyard has a very particular shape, it has a beautiful eight-sided well, and it is possible to see some artworks made by Bartolomeo Ammanati, Benedetto da Maiano and Giambologna. The Volognana Tower, situated at the corner of Via Ghibellina and 57 metres high, was named after one of the first inmates imprisoned there, Geri da Volognano. Inside, there is a bell called “Montanina“.
The museum is divided into three floors: on the ground floor it is possible to admire some sculptures made by Benvenuto Cellini, Francesco Camilliani, Michelangelo and other artists. On the first floor there are the chapel of Podestà (with the oldest portrait of Dante Alighieri), the Thirteenth-Century Room and the Islamic Art Room. The Donatello room has many Renaissance artworks, like the St. John the Baptist by Francesco da Sangallo, and the Virgin and the child by Michelozzo di Bartolomeo. On the second floor there are the Bronzes room, the Armory room and a collecton of masterpieces by Andrea and Giovanni della Robbia (such as Portrait of a Young Lady and Madonna of the Stonemasons)
The museum can be reached by ATAF bus lines C1 and C2, or by taxi.
Copyright photos: imuseidifirenze.it; arte.it