May 4, 2023
Galleria dell'Accademia is an Italian museum next to the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, right in the heart of the city. Its masterpieces attract more than a million tourists a year.
The birth of the Accademia dates back to 1784, when the Grand Duke of Tuscany Pietro Leopoldo reorganised the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, founded about two centuries earlier by Cosimo I de' Medici. The new institution was joined by a gallery where students could admire, study, and imitate original and reproduced works of art. Originally, the centre of the gallery housed two original plaster models by Giambologna, plaster casts of classical works and a collection of paintings from the collections of the Accademia del Disegno. This collection of paintings was soon enriched by works from various religious institutions, some of which were suppressed by Napoleon in 1810. From 1798 to 1815, the Accademia was also subject to Napoleonic looting of art.
When Florence became the capital of Italy, the Accademia was unbelievably expanded and from then on, the Gallery was known as the Galleria Antica e Moderna, becoming the first contemporary art museum of the new state.
In 1872 it was decided to move Michelangelo's David to the Accademia to avoid the dangers it faced in Piazza della Signoria. For the centenary of Michelangelo's birth in 1875, an exhibition was created with plaster reproductions of his sculptural masterpieces.
In 1882, the Michelangelo Museum was finally inaugurated and in the same year it broke away from the Accademia, in line with the growing obsolescence of copying as a teaching method. The works thus became objects to be enjoyed for aesthetic contemplation.
Today, the gallery appears rather uneven because its collection does not follow a well-defined thread; however, the David alone manages to polarise the attention of the many visitors to the museum.
The Gallery holds a varied collection of masterpieces ranging from painting to sculpture and music.
The Academy's painting collection spans more than six centuries. We find gold-ground paintings from the 13th to the early 15th century by artists such as Giotto, Agnolo Gaddi and Nardo di Cione. Of the 15th century, Renaissance works by Lorenzo Monaco stand out, as well as late Gothic works by Paolo Uccello, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Filippino Lippi. Then, Fra' Bartolomeo, Andrea del Sarto and Pontormo show the 16th century from their point of view, and then leave room for the large altarpieces dating back to the 17th century. A corner of the plaster cast gallery also displays 19th-century works by masters who studied or taught at the Academy.
The sculptures in the gallery are arranged in a harmonious crescendo up to the famous Michelangelo statue. The visitor is greeted by Giambologna's Rape of the Sabine Women, which dominates the Hall of Colossus. Then, the Galleria delle Prigioni shows the four male nudes (Prigioni) that Michelangelo had made for the tomb of Julius II. These original works by Michelangelo bring the visitor at the foot of David, the world's most famous statue, placed in the centre of the Tribune. The room has housed the David since 1873, previously placed in Piazza della Signoria, at the gates of Palazzo Vecchio, as an emblem of the strength and independence of the Florentines.
The Department of Musical Instruments, opened in 2001, houses the Collection of the 'Luigi Cherubini' Conservatory of Florence and musical instruments of the Medici and Lorraine grand dukes of Tuscany. In the rooms of the department, it is possible to listen to the sounds of the instruments on display through multimedia stations, which also offer an overview of the musical culture of Grand Ducal Florence.
Via Ricasoli, 58/60, Florence.
By car: Take one of the four Florence exits from the A1 motorway or Firenze Nord from the A11 motorway. From the motorway exit, follow the signs for Santa Maria Novella railway station. The museum is a ten-minute walk away.
By train: Reach Florence Santa Maria Novella railway station. The museum will be a ten-minute walk away.
Opening hours and days: Tuesday to Sunday 8:15am-6:50pm (last admission 6:20pm)
Annual closures: 1 January, 25 December
Full price ticket: 12€
Reduced price ticket: 2€ (18-25 years)
Free ticket: info on Home - Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze (galleriaaccademiafirenze.it)
You can also book your ticket and entrance time by calling Firenze Musei: Tel +39 055 294883.
Price of booking: € 4,00
From 21 June 2022 groups of a maximum of 20 people including the guide are allowed. The use of earphones (whisper) is mandatory for groups of 8 people or more.
And why not book a guided tour with My Tour in Italy to enjoy the Accademia Gallery at its best and discover its every detail? Make the right choice!
Guided tour of the Accademia Gallery without a ticket | Best Tours & Activities | My tour