by Melinda Gallo

A visit to my favorite museum

Each time I get to use my Amici degli Uffizi card, I feel so fortunate. I had been wanting to visit the Bargello National Museum again because it has been a while since I popped in for a visit. It makes me so happy to walk a few minutes from our apartment and enter my favorite museo (museum). I stroll by it quite often and always peer in the tall glass windows to take a peek at the courtyard and statues.

To me, the building is itself a masterpiece. The symmetrical structure built out of stone as if it had been raised from the earth. Even though it has such a masculine form, it does have some finishing touches that are feminine, like the windows with the round glass pieces in iron frames and the terra cotta floors without mentioning many of the frescoes and statues.

After entering the large courtyard, I immediately headed up the steps to the first floor. I sat down in the loggia on a rickety wooden chair to admire the ceiling and statues. I had thought I would sit and write for a few minutes, but instead I felt drawn to walk around.

I love walking through the museo and stop when something calls to me. Each time I go, I’m attracted to something different. Today, the first piece that made me stop in my tracks was the Amore-Attis in the Sala Donatello (Donatello’s room). I don’t remember seeing it before, but today I walked around it a few times to examine and appreciate it. There was something intriguing about the statue that I admired.

I admired the artwork in the next two rooms, displaying the Islamic collection and the Carrand collection, while I made my way to the Cappella di Maria Maddalena (Mary Magdalene’s Chapel) and the sagrestia (sacresty).

Inside the room with the fresco of inferno (hell) behind me and the one of paradiso (heaven) in front was so peaceful that I almost didn’t want to continue my visit of the museo. The cappella and its sagrestia were the only places where the city completely disappeared. In other parts of the museo, many of the windows are open, so the sounds of the city seep inside. In the cappella, however, I couldn’t hear the squeaky brakes of the buses stopping outside on via Ghibellina.

I love knowing where I am in the museo in relation to the streets outside. When I am inside, I can’t help but think of the city outside. I always feel as if I have fallen into a treasure chest in the middle of town. A part of me wants to stay in here while another part of me craves the city outside the thick walls of the museo.

I find the building as fascinating as the collection of artwork it contains. I love that the museo is an old fortress because I feel that it is perfect for the artwork and masterpieces that needs to be protected.

Every time I visit my favorite museo, I discover new pieces and appreciate it even more. For me the Bargello is proof that beauty has no boundaries and art, in all its forms from anywhere in the world, is to be cherished and honored.

When I exited the Bargello, I crossed via Ghibellina to look at the cappella from the outside. I never noticed the tall windows before. I was happy to see them because now when I walk by and look up at them, I can picture the cappella in my mind and remember the serenity I experienced there.

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