Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia is home to one of the world’s most impressive works of art: Michelangelo’s “David.” At 17 feet (5.2 meters) tall, the famous statue of the biblical hero is an overwhelming sight and a masterpiece of Renaissance art. Other works on display include 15th- and 16th-century paintings by the likes of Botticelli and Lippi, unfinished Michelangelo sculptures, and a museum of musical instruments. The Accademia was once Europe’s oldest drawing school; today it is Florence’s second-most visited museum, after the Uffizi Gallery.
The Accademia Gallery is considered a must-see for visitors to Florence, so long entry lines are the norm. To avoid spending hours in line, consider purchasing skip-the-line tickets in advance or opt for a private guided tour. “David” is unsurprisingly popular and set in one of the most crowded parts of the gallery—for the best photo ops, book a coveted, exclusive, early-access tour to be one of the first ones in the gallery and view “David” in relative peace. To maximize your time in Florence, choose a half- or full-day tour that visits both the Accademia Gallery and the Uffizi Gallery or also includes a city sightseeing tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Art and history lovers, especially those who admire Michelangelo, must not miss the Accademia Gallery.
- To be assured entry on the day you want to visit, book tickets or a tour in advance.
- Photography is not allowed inside the gallery.
- The gallery is closed on Mondays.
- Students from the EU and children under 18 years of age are eligible for reduced or free tickets.
How to Get There
The Accademia Gallery is located beside Piazza San Marco and is about a 15-minute walk from the Santa Maria Novella train station. It’s not far from the Uffizi Gallery, which many tours visit in combination with the Accademia.
When to Get There
The Accademia Gallery is busy every month of the year, but especially so in the summer. It’s slightly less crowded in the late afternoon, but can still be impossible to visit without a reservation. Note that the gallery is closed on Mondays.
What Not to Miss at the Accademia Gallery
The scale of Michelangelo’s “David”—carved from a single block of Carrara marble—is enough to impress, but its fine details and expert carving of lifelike features make it a true masterpiece. Travelers spend most of their time admiring “David,” but those interested in Michelangelo’s life and other works should also see his unfinished “San Matteo” or “Prigioni,” or slaves, that adorn the main hallway. The plaster model of Giambologna’s “Rape of the Sabine Women” also shouldn’t be missed.