The Bargello Museum, open for over 600 years, is one of the world’s oldest museums and displays significant art from the 14th to 16th centuries.
It is especially famous for its collection of Renaissance sculptures, including works by Donatello, Michelangelo, Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Jacopo Sansovino and Andrea del Verrocchio.
The museum also contains sculptures from ancient Greece and Rome.
On the other hand, the Accademia Gallery is most commonly known for displaying Michelangelo’s David.
Still, it also features other essential artworks, such as paintings and sculptures by Botticelli, Lippi, and Pacino di Buonaguida.
Galleria dell’Accademia vs Museo Nazionale del Bargello, both museums offer distinctive artwork from Renaissance and other periods in human history.
While the Accademia Gallery may be more popular, the Bargello Museum is a hidden gem that often needs to be noticed.
It offers a more extensive range of sculptures than the Accademia Gallery and is housed in a stunning ancient palace.
Additionally, it is relatively less crowded than the Accademia, making it an excellent option for those who prefer a more peaceful museum experience.
This article showcases a comparison between Bargello Museum and Accademia Gallery to help you choose the best one based on your interests and trip schedule.
The Bargello Museum ticket prices are usually lower than the Accademia Gallery.
However, both museums offer free entry on the first Sunday of every month.
Reserving tickets nowadays are prohibited; you must stand in line to visit the museums. Also, this option may not be available due to reasons such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bargello Museum entry ticket total price is around €8, while the reduced price for EU citizens between 18 and 24 is €4.
Children under 6 years old, disabled people and their helpers, authorized tour guides, leaders, and teachers accompanying school groups are given free admission to Borgello.
Bargello Museum skip-the-line entrance ticket costs around €17 (US$ 19).
The ticket cost will likely vary during special events or themed exhibitions.
You can also choose a Bargello tour with an expert guide to learn more about the sculptures, the artists behind them and their history.
The basic timed entry ticket to the Accademia Gallery is €21 (US$ 23) per person for adults and €5 (US$ 6) per child. The entry ticket costs €8 (US$ 9) for EU citizens.
For a more comprehensive experience, you can opt for the skip-the-line guided tour that lets you dive deeper into the artwork and the artist’s mind with an English-speaking guide beside you.
Combo tickets for Accademia and Bargello Museum, like the Ultimate Michelangelo tour are also available.
The three-day Firenze City Card includes priority access to Florence’s museums, including the Barcello Museum and Accademia Gallery.
The Accademia Gallery and the Bargello Museum are in the center of Florence.
Located in the impressive Palazzo del Bargello or Palazzo del Popolo (Palace of the People), the Bargello Museum is less than one kilometer from Accademia on foot.
The Accademia Gallery location is also central.
It rests among well-known Florentine landmarks, including the Cathedral and Giotto’s Bell Tower.
Bargello Museum opening hours are 8.15 am to 1.50 pm, Monday to Friday and the first, third and fifth Sunday of each month.
And 8.15 am to 6.50 pm on Saturdays. Its ticket office closes at 4.20 pm each day.
The museum remains closed on public holidays, including 1 January, 1 May and 25 December.
The Galleria dell Accademia hours are from Tuesday to Sunday, 8.15 am and closes at 6.50 pm.
The last admission for the day takes place at 6.20 pm.
The Accademia Gallery is closed every Monday and Christmas Day.
Housed in one of the oldest buildings in Florence, dating back to 1255, the Bargello Museum spans three floors.
The ground floor exhibits Tuscan 16th-century works, focusing in particular on four masterpieces by Michelangelo.
Other artists represented on this floor include Cellini, Sansovino, Bandinelli, Sansovino, Ammannati and Giambologna.
The first and second floors of the museum contain invaluable collections of what are known as “minor arts”, such as ivory, ceramics, enamels, gold, bronze, glass and the exquisite Medici medals.
The main halls of Bargello Museum are:
- The Courtyard
- The Michelangelo Room
- The Donatello room
- The Verrocchio room
- Giambologna’s bronze animals
It is possible to see a significant amount within an hour.
But two hours will provide you enough time to see the entire collection at the Bargello Museum without any rush.
The Accademia consists of seven separate halls on the ground floor and one at the first floor.
The following are the seven halls at Accademia Galley:
- Hall of the Colossus
- Hall of the Prisoners
- The Tribune
- Gipsoteca Bartolini
- Florentine Gothic
- Florence between 1370 and 1430
- Museum Of Musical Instruments
The eighth hall is for the yearly exhibitions on various topics such as ‘Fabric and Wealth in Florence in the Fourteenth Century’ and ‘The Bronze Effigy of Michelangelo’.
The main artwork at Accademia Gallery can also be easily covered within an hour and an additional hour is sufficient for observing other artworks.
While Accademia is well known for the masterpiece David by Michelangelo, the Bargello is a hidden gem that is usually overshadowed by other popular art museums among tourists.
Takes take a look at the popular artworks in both the museums.
Bargello Museum (Museo del Bargello)
For everyone who appreciates art from the Renaissance period, the Bargello Museum is known for its sculptures, just as the Uffizi Museum is for its paintings.
The Bargello Museum is home to several masterpieces by Michelangelo, such as his Bacchus, Pitti Tondo (also known as Madonna and Child), Brutus and David-Apollo.
As mentioned earlier, some Bargello Museum highlights are an impressive collection of ceramics (maiolica), textiles, tapestries, ivory, silver, armor and coins.
On the museum’s first floor, visitors can admire Bargello Museum sculptures from the fourteenth century, including Donatello’s David
Another notable element of the Bargello Museum is an enormous bell renowned for only ringing once every century.
The following are some of Bargello’s most famous statues:
- ‘Bacchus’ by Michelangelo
This sculpture of the Roman deity of wine, madness and ecstasy; made by Michelangelo in his early twenties, is a masterpiece of the High Renaissance.
Bacchus seems unsteady, supported by a tree stump and a fawn who stole his grapes, as he reclines with a glass of wine in his hand.
It was the first time a sculptor depicted Bacchus in such a state of drunkenness.
Initially planned for a cardinal’s garden, the sculpture wound up at the Bargello museum.
- ‘David’ by Donatello
One of Donatello’s most famous creations, this bronze statue of the biblical hero David standing just over five feet tall, is often regarded as his best.
Made in the 15th century, the statue was one of the earliest freestanding metal sculptures since antiquity and also inspired Michelangelo to carve his own David.
Commissioned by the Medici family, the statue originally stood in the courtyard of their palace in Florence.
- ‘Flying Mercury’ by Gianbologna
The second most important sculptor in Florence after Michelangelo, Gianbologna created this bronze sculpture in the late 16th century.
Depicting the Roman god Mercury and his left foot resting on a zephyr (wind), the sculpture is known for its dynamic composition and impression of motion.
It portrays Mercury’s hair and cape flowing backward as if being swept by the wind.
Commissioned by Francesco de’ Medici, it is considered one of Gianbologna’s greatest works, next only to his ‘Rape of the Sabines.’
- ‘Bust of Brutus’ by Michelangelo
The only known bust by Michelangelo depicts the Roman politician and philosopher Brutus, known for his role in assassinating Julius Caesar.
The detailed carving of Brutus’s hair, beard, attire, and facial emotion demonstrates Michelangelo’s attention to detail.
Bargello is home to numerous masterpieces and other famous works, including ‘Marzocco’ and ‘St. George and the Dragon’ by Donatello, ‘Bust of Costanza’ by Bernini and ‘Perseus’ by Perseus.
Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell’Accademia)
Besides Michelangelo’s David, Accademia Gallery artworks feature a diverse collection of extraordinary statues, paintings and musical instruments.
Some other Accademia Gallery highlights are Bartolini and Pampaloni’s plaster cast models along with other various models, including the famous ‘Rape of the Sabines’ by Gianbologna.
The most popular statues at Accademia include:
The 17-foot-tall marble statue on display in the Tribune portrays the biblical hero David just before his battle with the giant Goliath.
Situated in the Accademia Gallery under a bright skylight, it is considered one of Michelangelo’s finest works.
Its attention to detail, including the intricate depiction of the veins and muscles in David’s limbs, is particularly noteworthy.
Although the prominent piece masks other artworks in the museum, no other marble sculpture has ever matched the beauty and level of detail in Michelangelo’s David.
- Plaster cast model of the Rape of the Sabines by Giambologna
The plaster cast model of the Rape of the Sabines by Giambologna is a replica of a renowned sculpture created by Giambologna that depicts three figures.
The complex sculpture, carved from a single block of marble, depicts when Roman men abducted Sabine women to become their wives.
The original sculpture, made from a single marble block over 7 feet tall, is placed under Loggia dei Lanzi in Piazza della Signoria.
- Prisoners (Slaves) by Michelangelo
The unfinished marble sculptures, collectively referred to as the ‘Prisoners’ with a lengthy and fascinating history, are known for their expressive and dynamic qualities.
Their incompleteness can be interpreted in various ways, such as a reflection of Michelangelo’s belief that the sculpture’s actual form already existed inside the marble and the sculptor’s work was just to liberate it.
Historians named the statues: the Awakening Slave, the Young Slave, the Bearded Slave and the Atlas (or Bound).
The Accademia also boasts several famous paintings such as ‘Coronation of the Virgin’ by Cione, ‘The Cassone Adimari’ by Lo Scheggia, ‘Venus and Cupid’ by Pontormo and ‘The Tree of Life’ by Buonaguida.
Seventeenth to nineteenth-century musical instruments like the tenor viola, oval Spinetta, marble salterio and the Serpentone are also displayed in the gallery.
Accademia Galley, the second most visited art museum in Itlay, attracts millions of tourists and locals annually.
In 2021, approximately one-and-a-half million people visited Accademia Galley.
On the other side, the Bargello museum is rarely crowded, making it all the more pleasant and enjoyable to see the work on display undisturbed.
The museum is underrated among tourists and offers the perfect opportunity to discover and learn about renowned artists’ sculptures in a quiet atmosphere.