Time your visit: entry is free on the first Sunday of the month, and during the summer the museum also holds magical late openings
In the summer months you won’t struggle to find the famous Galleria dell’Accademia — just look for the longest queue of tourists in Florence. This art museum is popular for good reason: it has been the home of Michaelangelo’s David since 1873. Before then David was left out in the cold in the Piazza della Signoria; a replica remains there even now.
There’s much more to see besides David in the Accademia, magnificent as it is. Upon entering the building you step into the Hall of the Colossus, home of the plaster model for Giambologna’s masterful marble sculpture Rape of the Sabine Women. The real thing can be seen in the Loggia dei Lanzi, but the model is just as interesting, showing a master’s creative process as he summons life from a single block of marble. Neighbouring rooms contain paintings by Andrea Orcagna, Taddeo Gaddi, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi and Sandro Botticelli.
Tribute for an Old Master
The Accademia was at first specifically intended as a tribute to Michaelangelo, celebrating the fourth centenary of his birth. It has broadened its range since then, but it still contains numerous works of his. Other than David, it also includes his four unfinished Prisoners, which were intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II, and a statue of Saint Matthew.
Sounds and sweet airs
The most recent section of the Accademia, the Museum of Musical Instruments, offers the chance to learn about the invention of the piano, created by Bartolomeo Cristofori for the Medici, and admire the Grand Ducal collection of forty instruments, scaling from harpsichords to violoncellos.
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