Good for: Art lovers
- Via Ricasoli 60
- 055 29 48 83
- adult/reduced €6.50/3.25
- 8.15am-6.50pm Tue-Sun
Lonely Planet review for Galleria dell'Accademia
A lengthy queue marks the door to this gallery, built especially to house one of the greatest masterpieces of the Renaissance, Michelangelo's original David.
Fortunately, the most famous statue in the world is worth the long wait. The subtle detail (not quite as illuminated on copies) of the real thing - the veins in his sinewy arms, the muscles in his legs, the change in expression as you move around the statue - is impressive. Carved from a single block of marble already worked on by two sculptors before him (both of who gave up), Michelangelo's most famous work was also his most challenging - he didn't choose the marble himself, it was veined and its larger-than-life dimensions were already decided.
And when the statue of the nude boy-warrior, depicted for the first time as a man in the prime of life rather than a young boy, assumed its pedestal in front of Palazzo Vecchio on Piazza della Signoria in 1504, Florentines immediately adopted it as a powerful emblem of Florentine power, liberty and civic pride.
Michelangelo was also the master behind the unfinished San Matteo (St Matthew; 1504-08) and four Prigioni ('Prisoners' or 'Slaves'; 1521-30) on display here. The Prisoners seem to be writhing and struggling to free themselves from the marble; they were meant for the tomb of Pope Julius II, itself never completed. Adjacent rooms contain paintings by Andrea Orcagna, Taddeo Gaddi, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi and Sandro Botticelli.