The Bargello National Museum
Museo Nazionale del Bargello

Image © Nicola Neri

Firenze, Italy


The Bargello National Museum is justly famous for hosting the world’s most important collection of Italian Renaissance sculpture. Its collection includes remarkable masterpieces by Michelangelo, Cellini, Verrocchio, Donatello, Giambologna and Cellini, among others. It also includes a number of bronze and marble sculptures that once belonged to the powerful and influential Medici family.

But the Bargello’s rich collections have a far broader sweep – also incorporating weapons, seals, fabrics and waxes, to enamels, paintings, ivories, majolica and much more. Situated within the oldest public palace in Florence, founded in 1255, the site has a storied history and was eventually inaugurated as Italy’s first national museum in 1865.

Goppion’s relationship with this fine museum goes back more than 30 years. In 1988, we engaged on a three-year project in the Sala degli Avori (Ivory gallery). There, we realized a series of specially designed metal and glass vertical showcases. We ensured they had a similar shape to those already in the gallery for seamless integration – but they were also equipped with everything necessary for the preventive conservation of objects in ivory: passive RH stabilization, low IR and UV emission lighting, and construction materials compatible with the exhibits.

Image © Mario Ciampi

More recently, Goppion has worked with the Museum on a major project involving four galleries: the Sala Barocche and Sala Medagliere, which were inaugurated in November 2023, and the Sala Islamica and Sala delle Maioliche, designed by Guicciardini & Magni Architects, inaugurated in June 2024.

The Museum has one of the world's greatest collections of medals, comprising more than 10,000 pieces from the 15th to the 19th century. In the Sala del Medagliere we created four Q-Class display cases (two island and two wall cases) to present some of the highlights from this valuable collection.

The two showcases in the center celebrate Renaissance cast medals and Medici medals.The island cases are designed to be double-sided, with a drawer unit underneath, which can be used and opened by the public for viewing more medals. Goppion created a mock-up to study the specific lighting requirements for the Sala del Medagliere. Measurements of each medal and a morphological study were conducted to determine the best mounting system. The goal was to highlight the medals, even the very small ones, by suspending them against a transparent backdrop. In the Sala Barocca we also took our customary great care with the specifications; the statues on display there, some made of wax, are very delicate. A rail barrier was incorporated into the design and used as a spacer.

Of the 15 display cases we designed and built for the Sala Islamica, two of them feature tilted backs to support the textiles – this is essential due to conservation needs, as the textiles cannot be displayed vertically. The historic nature of the building required adaptations to the structure of the display cases, such as access hatches that must remain accessible.

Image © Nicola Neri

Image © Nicola Neri

Finally, the Sala Maioliche required eight showcases: several large wall cases and 5 island cases. The anchoring systems for ceramic plates here is particularly interesting; we performed a morphological analysis for each individual plate, and a magnetized ‘spider’ anchoring system was created for the final mounting solution.

Image © Nicola Neri

With this latest project, Goppion has been delighted to continue its relationship with the Bargello, contributing to the further enhancement of a unique and multi-faceted museum environment that truly does justice to the rich cultural narrative of Florentine art and history.