The Bargello is the oldest Florentine civic buildings, the Museo Nazionale opened in 1865.
It was built by Lapo Tedesco for the Capitano del Popolo in 1250 then it was enlarged on the of Via dell’Acqua and closed by a courtyard with gothic elements. It was the headquarters of the Podestà and of Giudici della Ruota until 1574 when it took the name of Palazzo del Bargello, when it became the residence of the Capitano di Giustizia, that is, chief of police, and therefore the site of the jail.
The highest level of deterioration was reached when the beatiful Sala di Donatello was divided in 32 cells and in a Chapel. The building was restored in the 19th century by Francesco Mazzei, he found the ancient paintings, sculputures, funitures etc. Every important Florentine Museum gave works, paintings, etc.
The Bargello housed many works of Donatello, so the Salone del Bargello became the “Tribuna donatelliana” and in 1892 exhibited the collection of Carrand, gothic and Renaissance objects, the weapons collection of Ressman and the Fianchetti collection.