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Country: ItalyAddress: Via del Proconsolo, 4, 50122 Firenze
Website: www.polomuseale.firenze.it/bargello/ Uploaded artworks: 28 Uploaded artist: 10
The Bargello, also known as the Bargello Palace or Palazzo del Popolo (Palace of the People) is a former barracks and prison, now an art museum, in Florence, Italy.
The word bargello appears to come from the late Latin bargillus [from Goth bargi and German burg]: castle or fortified tower. During the Italian Middle Ages it was the name given to a military captain in charge of keeping peace and justice (hence "Captain of justice") during riots and uproars. In Florence he was usually hired from a foreign city to prevent any appearance of favoritism on the part of the Captain. The position could be compared with that of a current Chief of police. The name Bargello was extended to the building which was the office of the captain.
The Bargello palace was built to house first the Capitano del Popolo and later, in 1261, the PodestĂ , the highest magistrate of the Florence City Council, Italy. This Palazzo del PodestĂ , as it was originally called, is the oldest public building in Florence. This austere crenellated building served as model for the construction of the Palazzo Vecchio. In 1574, the Medici dispensed with the function of the PodestĂ and housed the bargello, the police chief of Florence, in this building, hence its name. It was employed as a prison; executions took place in the Bargello's yard until they were abolished by Grand Duke Peter Leopold in 1786. It remained the headquarters of the Florentine police until 1865.
The original two-story structure was built alongside the Volognana Tower in 1256. The third story, which can be identified by the smaller blocks used to construct it, was added after the fire of 1323. The building is designed around an open courtyard with an external staircase leading to the second floor. An open well is found in the center of the courtyard.
Since 1865 it has become a national museum (Museo Nazionale del Bargello), displaying the largest Italian collection of gothic and Renaissance sculptures (14â€“17th century).
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