$5 Best Cultural Thing to Do in Florence

Things to Do, Travel Tips — By katiegreenaway on October 4, 2010 at 3:51 pm

How Cheap Is Cheap?

Florence is not a cheap city by any measure. When visiting Florence, be aware you will be spending a lot of money. It is one of the most expensive cities in Italy, close to the likes of Rome and Milan. Since the Euro arrived in Italy in 2002, the prices of attractions keep on rising. Street food is affordable for the typical traveler on a budget. Panini costs normally between €2-3,50, a kebab, a turkish roll-up with questionable meat inside, usually go for €4,00.  A glass of wine in the little pannetteria(panino shop) costs only €1-1,30 euro, depending on the wine.

The Best $5 You’ll Ever Spend

The cheapest cultural attraction that is worth a visit would be the Museo Nazionale del Bargello (Bargello Musuem). To enter the Bargello, it costs only €4,00. The Bargello was first constructed as a residence for the mayor of Italy in 1255 and was once called the Palazzo del Popolo. The Bargello is derived from the Latin word Bargillus, which means ‘castle‘ or ‘fortified tower’. During the Middle Ages in Italy, the name, Bargello, was given to the building for a police officer who was brought into Florence to help to maintain the peace. He was successful in his job with his status similar to that of the Chief of Police.
The building served as a police station and later was converted into prison. In the year 1780, Grand Duke Peter Leopold put an end to the prison, but the building remained as the Florentine police headquarters until 1859. The Bargello Museum contains a collection of pieces ranging from the 14th to the 17th century. The Bargello Museum is known as Florence’s oldest building.

What you will get out of the Bargello is simply viewing the works of the most famous artists from the Renaissance. The Drunken Bacchus is a must-see, done by Michelangelo when he was only 22. On the second floor you will find many sculptures that are token pieces of the Renaissance. Donatello’s famous bronze sculpture of the David (c. 1430–40) and the bronze panels by Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi for the 1401 contest to design the new doors for Florence’s Baptistery.

The Low-Down

When I visited the Bargello back in 2002, I was amazed of how many works of art there were in one place. I never studied these pieces but I sure wanted to learn more about them. My art and architecture teacher really opened my eyes to enjoying the pieces of work that I never in my life knew I would be able to see. Here are some pictures that my very talented friend Laura took from her visit this past May.

Sculptures Photo Credit Ciao Amalfi

Courtyard in the Bargello Photo Credit Ciao Amalfi

Tower of the Bargello Photo Credit Ciao Amalfi

Outside shot of the Bargello

Now You Do It

To be able to spend as little as possible and enjoy each moment in Florence, keep an eye out for the tricks of the city that force you to spend money for no real gain. So you can spend your money more on the cultural aspects of the city: eat reasonably and simply. Typically, restaurants that present a tourist menu or the like, are not places you want to frequent. The prices are cheap but you aren’t getting the quality of what Tuscan food has to offer. Keep this in mind when you are wandering the streets in Florence looking for food. Search for little mom and pop shops, that are small and are usually located on small side streets. I will be posting an article on these restaurants in the upcoming weeks, keep your eyes peeled. 🙂

Try the street food more often. Usually a pannetteria have a couple tables inside or outside. Simplify spending by spotting a small enoteca (wine bars) that serve quality instead of quantity.

Museo Nazionale del Bargello

Via del Proconsolo,4
Tel. +39 0552388-606
Monday to Sunday:8:15 – 13:50
Closed the 1st, 3rd & 5th Sunday and the 2nd & 4th Monday each month.
From April 3rd to July 12th: 8.15 – 17:00
Closed the 2nd & 4th Monday each month.

Tags: bapistery, bargello, donatello, michelangelo, musuems, panino, sandwich shops, wine

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