Palazzo del Podestà, Florence’s oldest public building, served as a barracks and prison before becoming the National Museum of the Bargello in 1865. Today, the art museum is home to an extensive collection of Renaissance works displayed in a series of vast apartments, including gold, armor, bronze animals made for the Medici family gardens as well as tapestries. The centerpiece of the Bargello collection, however, is the statuary that dates from the 14th to 16th centuries.
This is one of the most popular art collections in Florence; avoid a long wait by booking skip-the-line tickets ahead. Many Renaissance Florence walking tours include a stop at the Bargello; there’s a lot of art and history to take in, though, so consider reserving a private tour with an expert guide.