Things to do in Accademia of Florence
The Accademia Gallery is an essential stop for any visitor to Florence for one exquisite reason: Michelangelo’s David. One of the most celebrated works of the Renaissance, the fantastic details of this sculpture, from David’s sinewy arms to his steely gaze, are well worth the queues.
Carved from a single block of marble, Michelangelo’s heroic David became a symbol of Florentine power, freedom and independence, particularly in the face of the threatening Medici in the 16th century. Originally placed in a public square outside the Palazzo Vecchio, due to the damaging effect of the elements it was later moved to the Accademia Gallery.
While not quite as celebrated, Michelangelo’s Prigioni ('Prisoners' or slaves) is another powerful work that you can admire in the gallery. Originally commissioned for the tomb of Pope Julius, the sculptures show four prisoners struggling to break free of the marble that bounds them; which some interpret as a metaphor for humanity bound by the material world. The museum also features impressive works by Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Andrea Orcagna and other notable artists from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and early 17th century.
- 8.15am-6.50pm Tuesday to Sunday
- CLOSED 25 December, 1 January, 1 May
- FREE on the first Sunday of each month
About the Accademia of Florence
Founded in 1784 by Grand Duke Peter Leopold of Lorraine, the Accademia was originally a teaching facility for students of the adjacent Academy of Fine Arts. It took over the old Hospital of Saint Matthew and the Convent of Saint Niccolò di Cafaggio, which is where it stands today. Overtime it amassed a collection of works from convents and monasteries suppressed by Peter Leopold in 1786 and Napoleone Bonaparte in 1810. However, it was the arrival of Michelangelo’s David in 1873 that saw the gallery make the leap towards the importance it has today. It is currently among the the most visited museums in Italy.
Via Ricasoli 58-60, FIorence, Italy
- By train
- Firenze SMN
- By bus
- 14, 23
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