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It’s a masterpiece you need to see when you travel to Florence.
Michaelangelo’s David is arguably the most famous statue in the world. Even if you’re not the greatest fan of history or art, it’s such an iconic sculpture that you’ll want to see with your own eyes. However, if you are interested in history or art, you’re in the right place. Wandering down the street in Florence is like walking through a museum, never mind being inside an actual museum itself.
If you want to lay eyes on David himself, you’re going to want to pay a trip to the Accademia Gallery. That’s where Michaelangelo’s David resides.
After walking around a corner in the Accademia Gallery, we saw Michaelangelo’s David for the first time. He stood, all alone, with a sea of people beneath him. The statue of David is larger than life…literally. He is 5.16 meters tall (nearly 17 feet), almost three times the size of the average man.
Contrary to what I read online prior to visiting, we were allowed to take photographs of David. When I posted my pictures on social media, numerous people were surprised that I was able to take photos. The rules for photographs have likely changed over time. No one tried to stop us from taking pictures, and almost everyone had their cameras out. The only sign I saw regarding photographs was one stating, “No selfie sticks!”.
FACTS ABOUT DAVID
Michaelangelo’s David statue represents the biblical hero from the story, David and Goliath. David carries a rock in his right hand and a sling over his left shoulder. Historians believe that David displays an expression of anxiety on his face as he is about to face the giant, Goliath in that fabled epic battle.
He was carved between 1501 and 1504 from one single block of marble. Isn’t that incredible? That block of marble was actually used and discarded twice because it was too difficult to work with. He was originally intended to be placed on the roof of Florence’s cathedral, the Duomo. However, he was so beautiful that he needed to be appreciated up close. This explains why he was sculpted to be nearly 17 feet tall – he was going to appear much smaller from the rooftop.
Michaelangelo’s David once stood in front of Palazzo Vecchio from 1504 until 1873. To protect the statue, it was moved to the Accademia Gallery. In 1910, a replica statue of David was placed in Piazza della Signoria where the old one used to be. We saw the replica statue in front of Palazzo Vecchio.
I should have taken another picture showing the massive crowds in the piazza when we were in Florence. Tom Hanks was inside Palazzo Vecchio, along with other cast and crew members, shooting the film, Inferno. We didn’t enjoy any celebrity sightings, but people were crowded around waiting for hours to catch a glimpse at Tom Hanks!
There are several statues in Piazza della Signoria, including The Rape of the Sabine Women. A plaster copy of that statue is also on display at the Accademia Gallery.
DAVID: UP CLOSE
The details of Michaelangelo’s David are astounding when you view the statue up close. You can see sculpted muscles, every bulging vein, and even the texture of his skin. It was so incredible that Michaelangelo carved this masterpiece from one block of marble. Only so much can be captured with photographs. You really have to see David in person to fully appreciate him.
OTHER ART AT ACCADEMIA GALLERY
While Michaelangelo’s David is the main attraction, there are lots of other works of art and sculptures at Accademia Gallery. While there were lots of paintings depicting religious imagery, one of the most interesting places we discovered was the Hall of Models. You’ll find this near the statue of David. Unfortunately, this room was closed to visitors when we visited, but we were able to admire the sculptures through a large doorway. We marveled at many plaster casts and marble statues by sculptor, Lorenzo Bartolini. I’m not sure why this area had a barrier in front of it when we visited. You might be able to walk right through it now.
BEFORE YOU GO
- Purchase your tickets ahead of time to secure an entrance time without having to wait in a long line. Purchase the tickets directly from the official website. Third party websites will charge you additional fees. Select a date and a time, and you can buy the tickets online. You’ll get a booking number. Collect your tickets at the ticket office, opposite the museum (51, via Ricasoli).
- The Accademia Gallery is closed on Mondays. It’s also closed January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.
- The opening hours are: Tuesday and Friday from 08:15-22:00 and Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 08:15-18:50.
- Reduced ticket prices are available for those aged 18-25. Children under 18 years of age can enter free of charge.
Want to see more Florence photos? Check out our entire Florence travel photography album!
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