Museo Nazionale del Bargello
One of Florence's most important museums yet surprisingly under-appreciated, the Bargello houses one of the world's great collections of Florentine Renaissance sculpture. This formidable ex-prison building dates from 1255; the bodies of ex-criminals were once displayed in the inner courtyard. Today, the ground floor rooms hold works by Michelangelo, Giambologna, and Bacio Bandinelli, as well as the great Benvenuto Cellini. Upstairs, the magnificent Gothic halls are filled with more sculptures. Highlights include two representations of David by Donatello and his statue of a young St. George. For some light relief, there are also rooms dedicated to the decorative arts and early Islamic art, with armor, dazzling brocades, intricately carved ivories, colorful ceramics, and a collection of magnificent Oriental carpets.