Though Florence is known as the art capital of Italy, there are a few masterpieces that stand out above all else. Any travel guru can agree that Michelangelo’s David is not only a symbol of Florence; it’s an art icon. Travelers can spot Michelangelo’s David in three spots around Florence, but only one is the real deal. Standing at a whopping 17 feet tall, the authentic Statue of David lies in the Galleria dell’Accademia. Here’s how to visit the real Michelangelo’s David.
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Accademia Gallery Hours
The Galleria dell’Accademia opens at 8:15a.m., closes at 6:15 p.m., and is closed on Mondays. The ticket office closes at 6:05p.m., meaning you cannot enter past that time. If you’re looking for cheap things to do in Florence, the Accademia is free every first Sunday of the month, along with every other State Museum in Florence. The line for the museum can get pretty long, so we recommend doing a guided tour for skip the line access.
Statue of David Facts
You may wonder how the David got its claim to fame. And if you’ve never seen the thing, that’s a pretty reasonable question. For those who have, you know that this statue is massive. The sheer size of it makes you do a double-take. The statue depicts the biblical character David, you know, that victor of the David and Goliath battle. This statue is the first to depict the scene right before David slaughters Goliath, whereas prior interpretations depicted David during and after the kill.
Similarly, aside from its size and scenic timing, Michelangelo’s David is, well, Michelangelo’s David. You know that renowned artist who sculpted La Pieta for St. Peter’s Basilica and painted the entire Sistine Chapel? This is the same dude. Michelangelo is not just an Italian artist, he’s the Italian artist.
And to state what may be obvious, the David’s fame also comes from the grave detail Michelangelo dedicated to the piece. This iconic statue came from a giant block of Carrara marble, and Michelangelo simply carved it into what we now see as the David.
There are Three Davids in Florence
Yup, you heard that right. There’s one in the Galleria dell’Accademia, one in Piazza della Signoria and one atop Piazzale Michelangelo.
He has an Infamous Right Hand
The right hand is disproportionately large. Some believe this was Michelangelo’s nod to the nickname of David, manu fortis– strong of hand.
Relationship with the Medici Family
While the relationship between the Medici Family and Michelangelo was rocky, the work they commissioned from him included the iconic masterpieces the Moses, the Sistine Chapel and the David Statue.
Even an Earthquake Can’t Defeat Him
The statue has suffered severe fractures and cracks in its shins and ankles over the years from earthquakes. As a result, the David now stands on an anti-seismic platform which protects it from earthquake damage.
He’s Missing a Toe
The second toe of his left foot was smashed off in September of 1991 by Italian artist Piero Cannata, who snuck a hammer into the Accademia.
Statue of David Tickets
You don’t need to go on a guided tour to see David, but the lines can be quite long. Additionally, the museum does not provide nearly enough information for visitors to fully appreciate the David. A guided walking tour will provide skip the line tickets, for those who cannot wait to see this admirable work of art. However, if you do choose to forgo a a guided tour, there are several websites that sell tickets.
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