Tour of the Academy Gallery – Michelangelo’s David

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The visit to the Academy Gallery is a great pleasure and a “must-see” on any visitor’s list. It is impossible to leave Florence without seeing Michelangelo’s David, the most famous statue in the world.

Let us escort you through the gallery, enabling you to skip the entry lines and help you imagine the great artist at work, chiseling the marble, working from his imagination and bringing his creations to life.

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Guided tour of the Academy Gallery

The statues created by Michelangelo offer a glimpse into the life of the artist and of the man.
In fact, besides the David at the Academy Gallery there are other Michelangelo’s statues. “The Pietà of Palestrina”, the “San Matteo” but above all the “Slaves” or “Prisoners” commissioned by Pope Julius II for his tomb. Michelangelo worked on this funeral manument for almost forty years and in the end the project was changed and so these statues were no longer needed and he never finished them. They were called prisoners because they give the impression of being trapped, “imprisoned” in the block of marble in search of a way out of the stone.

Guided Florence Tours will show why the statue of David, which has become so famous over the past 500 years, can be considered the most beautiful in the world.


Giorgio Vasari, the first art historian, wrote in his book: “The lives of the most excellent painters, sculptors and architects”, when Michelangelo was still alive:

“… and to tell the truth, this work eclipsed all other statues, both modern and ancient, …. which Michelangelo completed with so much measure and beauty, and so much skill. For the contours of its legs are extremely beautiful, along with the splendid articulations and grace of its flanks; a sweeter and more graceful pose has never been seen that could equal it, nor have feet, hands, and a head ever been produced which so well match all the other parts of the body in skill of workmanship or design. To be sure, anyone who sees this statue need not be concerned with seeing any other piece of sculpture done in our times or in any other period by any other artist.”

About the tour

Guided Florence Tours will organize the tour of the Academy Gallery in detail. We will take care of you before, during and after the visit.
We will pre-book the entrance to the museum enabling you to skip the long lines. Once inside our guides will show you how to look at a statue so as to completely understand it and when the tour is over we will stay at your disposal for any other type of information you might need.

tour della galleria dell'accademia con Guided Florence Tours

Remember that the explanation of our guides are easy to follow, interesting and appealing. Our aim is to allow you to soak up the atmosphere of the Academy Gallery so that you will always remember the feeling of absolute and perfect beauty that characterizes this Florentine treasure.
The tour of the Academy Gallery lasts about 1 hour and covers the most important sculptures of the museum, including Giambologna’s raw earth model “Rape of the Sabine Women”.
At the end of the guided tour you can stay inside the museum as long as you wish to visit the Gipsoteca (plaster cast gallery) and the rich collection of musical instruments.

What is included in the tour

  • Booking entry tickets to skip the line at the Academy Gallery
  • Guided tour
  • Access to temporary exhibitions
  • Headphones, if groups of more than 8 people

History of the Gallery

In 1784 the Grand Duke of Tuscany Pietro Leopoldo decided to reorganize the previous Academy of the Arts of Drawing, founded by Cosimo I de’Medici in 1563, into the modern Academy of Fine Arts. He chose this place that once belonged to the San Matteo Hospital and the former convent of San Nicola di Cafaggio to offer the students enrolled at the Academy a collection of important works to copy and be inspired from.
The Academy Gallery we see today was born in 1882, when the architect Emilio De Fabris completed the construction of the “Tribuna”. This is the special place, which reminds the structure of a church, that preserves the statues of Michelangelo.
The construction works lasted 9 years and so David had to wait, kept in a wooden box, till everything was ready to take possession of his new home!

History of Michelangelo’s David

On 16 August 1501 the Cathedral of Florence commissioned a statue to be placed on one of the Duomo’s terraces to the twenty-six years old Michelangelo Buonarroti, for 400 ducats.
On 25 January 1504, after only two and a half years Michelangelo finished this gigantic statue. A commission formed by the major artists of the time (among which we remember: Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Filippino Lippi and Perugino) decided that the sculpture should be placed next to the entrance of Palazzo Vecchio, thus becoming the symbol of the city. On September 8, 1504 the statue was revealed to the city, arousing the admiration of all.

David’s measurements: The sculpture, with its sculpted base, is 17 feet high and weighs 12.257 pounds.

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