Things to do in Florence – The Galleria dell’Accademia

Chances are if you’re visiting Florence, you’ve heard about the Galleria dell’Accademia. It’s one of the most renowned museums in all of Italy and filled with priceless works of Renaissance art and sculpture.  The ‘Gallery of the Academy’ was founded in 1784 as part of the Accademia di Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts) where the artwork served as teaching tools, and students of the Academy were allowed use of the works of art as models.

David by Michelangelo in The Gallery of the Accademia di Belle Arti

David von Michelangelo

The centerpiece of the Gallery of the Academy is Michelangelo’s David, sculpted between the years 1501 and 1504.  This magnificent marble statue stands in the Tribune, a domed space designed specifically for David by architect Emilio de Fabris.

In addition to Michelangelo’s David, here are a couple of works at the Galleria dell’Accademia worth mentioning:

The Virgin and Child with Two Angels and the Young St John the Baptist (1465-1470),  Sandro BotticelliBotticelli, The Virgin and Child with Two Angels and the Young St John the Baptist

Madonna del Mare/Madonna of the Sea (1477), Sandro BotticelliBotticelli, madonna del Mare

What we find interesting about this museum is that it’s still physically connected to the Academy of Fine Arts, a school that has been in operation for centuries.  (It was originally founded in 1562, by Cosimo I de Medici, as the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, or the Academy of Art and Design).  During our recent visit, we noticed that just to the left of the entrance to the Galleria dell’Accademia is an entrance to the actual Accademia.  We took a quick look around, walked through the courtyard and got a glimpse into the studios of students busy with their projects.

Travel tips:

Regular admission = 6.50€ + any ticket booking fees or special exhibit supplements.

Lines for tickets at the Accademia are almost always long (3-4 hours).  To avoid the wait, consider making reservations well in advance of your trip (a month or more prior to your visit).  Here are a few options:

1.  When booking your hotel room, ask the concierge at your hotel if he/she can make museum reservations for you.  Some hotels offer this service for free; others may charge a booking fee.  Note:  After making our room reservations online, we were contacted by the hotel’s owner, asking if he could make any museum reservations on our behalf.  He specifically mentioned the Accademia (and the Uffizi)

2.  Purchase your tickets online via the Galleria dell’Accademia’s official website. Keep in mind that there is a surcharge for booking online (currently 4€), but you’ll be able to choose a definite entry time and avoid the long wait at the museum.

3.  Purchase the Firenze Card which covers the Galleria dell’Accademia, and allows you to skip the ticket lines.

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