Would you like to spend a week in the wonderful city of Florence and experience the real charm of the cradle of Rinascimento? Here is what you need to do! Get “The Italian Gourmet Holiday Raffle” tickets to get a chance to visit one of the most breathtaking cities in the world. (20% will be donated to the “I Love Norcia” association to support the reconstruction of the town, dramatically hit by the recent earthquake).
On my first visit to Florence a few years ago, I rushed into the Accademia Gallery with one purpose in mind, to see the original marble sculpture of David by Michelangelo. I quickly found my way to the hall where the famous statue was on display and made my way through the crowds, spent a short time there, and left after I accomplished my goal. No photos were allowed.
Fast forward to 2015 and I was in Florence again, this time with my friend Patty. It was her first visit and neither of us wanted to spend all day in a museum, nor wait in long lines. But I did want to see David again. But we got in line in the middle of the afternoon and were told that it would be about an hour.
Luck was on our side that day, because an eager young Italian man who worked as a guide for the Accademia Gallery in Florence, approached those of us in line. He was offering to provide a guided 45-minute tour inside the museum right now to those of us who spoke English and wanted to pay €35. Patty and I were on the same page when we decided that this was a win-win. The admission cost alone was going to be €13 and we got to skip the line, so we volunteered.
He ushered us inside and we joined a group of five others. The experience turned out to be not only fun but educational as well. I learned quite a bit that day about the Accademia that I never knew.
The first hall he showed us was the Hall of the Colossus. The main attraction included the plaster cast of the famous sculpture by Giambologna, titled Rape of the Sabines. What is so incredible is the entire sculpture was created using a single block of marble. The original marble sculpture can be viewed in Piazza della Signoria.
Originally established in the eighteenth century as a teaching facility for art students, the Accademia today still exists with that agenda. Another hall we saw included unfinished sculptures from Michelangelo. Aptly named, this is called the Hall of the Prisoners.
What was completely new information for me was to discover that inside the Accademia was a Museum of Musical Instruments. One entire hall called the Tuscany Room is filled with sculptures and paintings from former students. Original plaster models by former professor and sculptor Bartolini also line the shelves here.
The final stop on our tour stop was the hall where the 17-foot high sculpture of David was displayed. Only earlier this year were the rules changed and we now were allowed to photograph this stunning piece of art. I am always amazed at the detail of the human body including veins in this masterpiece. And Michelangelo was not even thirty years old when he completed this.
Worth the money and time, this was a great way to spend an hour in Florence. I am sure art aficionados would want to spend much more time and enjoy the paintings by Botticelli, Perugino, and other Renaissance artists.