Galleria Accademia in Florence: collection, tickets, opening hours
It is believed that Florence is home to about a third of all the cultural treasures of Italy. But without the city’s famous Academy of Fine Arts and a museum like the Galleria dell’Accademia, many priceless treasures of world culture would have been lost forever. Or simply not created.
The Accademia Gallery in Florence is not just a museum that houses priceless paintings by Florentine masters and the original of Michelangelo’s David Michelangelo.
It is a collection of the best of the finest examples of fine art, which was conceived as… an ideal teaching aid. In other words, the halls of the Gallery contain the most perfect works, which by their very sight are intended to inspire creators to create something similar.
Entrance to the Galleria dell’Accademia
Tourists visiting the Galleria Accademia today do not hide the fact that they have experienced a real cultural shock, only slightly inferior to the Uffizi Gallery, the most visited museum in the Apennines. But this is the result – the history of the Galleria dell’Accademia began under much darker circumstances.
Academy of Art in Florence? Of course, where else!
By the mid-16th century Florence was no longer a republic, but the capital of the Duchy of Tuscany. But art still belonged in some way to the people. Michelangelo’s David, the symbol of the Republic and the free spirit of the Renaissance, was still standing in the Piazza della Signoria. True, next to the controversial, according to the citizens, fountain of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati…
However, the Florentines, who were immersed in daily concerns, cared less and less about the fine arts. Pride in the great sons of Florence is not bad, but you can’t get enough of it…
“Michelangelo’s David stood for a long time in the Piazza della Signoria.
“…But someone also has to preserve and maintain statues, paintings, buildings. Yes, and because of the endless military campaigns of the French in the direction of the Italian lands, the center of European cultural life gradually moved to France. And artists and architects, not having had time to operate in their native Florence, go forever, or, at best, to Rome. And the papal treasury, despite the Reformation, is the papal treasury… And the Venetians, despite their disputes with Turkey over trade dominance on the Mediterranean, are not poor, enticing the best Florentine artists with rich commissions… Although they have plenty of their own…”
So or so reasoned the painter, architect, writer Giorgio Vasari (incidentally, a native of Arezzo), wishing to change the existing order of things somewhat.
Of course, in those years not only the great Vasari worked in Florence, but also the equally great Agnolo Bronzino and the already mentioned Bartolomeo Ammannati. But that was no longer the High Renaissance, but Mannerism (early Baroque), which was gradually but steadily losing the Renaissance harmony between body and spirit in its stylistics.
The time was different, too: religious wars had engulfed all of Europe, and human existence had ceased to seem immutable.
The impoverishment of the budget, the decline of the city, and the lack of a unified school of art brought Vasari and “company” to life with the idea of opening the world’s first Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, an institution where painters, architects, and sculptors from all over Europe would come to study. Why Florence? A strange question… Where else? The idea, of course, was fervently supported by Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici…
The Academy and its gallery.
In 1562 the Accademia del Beaux-Arts was originally housed in the church of Santissima Annunziata. The Gallery of the Academy itself (as one of the study halls) appeared in Florence two centuries later.
Firstly, because there was simply no room for it in the small parish church. Secondly, there was already enough work for the students who came to Florence from all over Europe.
There was never a shortage of “visual aids” even in the streets of the city. The best students were subsequently involved in restoration work, and as early as 1588 in the Academy emerged and restoration department. Musicians were also trained in the Academy: this department later became the Conservatory of Cherubini (1849).
Florence is home to one third of Italy’s cultural treasures
The first teachers and academicians were the “founding fathers”: Vasari, Ammannati and Bronzino. By the middle of the eighteenth century many cities in Italy, France and even Russia already had Academies of Art. And yet the first were the “crafty” Florentines, who managed to lay the foundations of any art by their own models.
But these specimens, as well as those wishing to study only in Florence, became more and more numerous. And in 1784, by order of the then Duke of Tuscany Pietro Leopold, the school was moved to the spacious building of the former hospital at the convent of St. Matthew and St. Nicholas in Via Ricasoli. Within the same walls appeared the Gallery of the Academy, where students could study the creations of the great masters of the past.
Access to view the great works of art in their free time was soon available to all those wishing to do so. For a fee, of course. The Academy Gallery in Florence, in modern parlance, was already then a brand of brands, and its collection is constantly updated.
For example, during the Napoleonic wars, many churches and monasteries in Tuscany were closed, and the Roman Church, in order to avoid being looted by the French, gave its treasures to the Accademia as visual aids. Here we can already say that Vasari’s genius soared to unreachable heights: he was able to “outsmart” even papal Rome, which had once lured to itself many outstanding artists and sculptors.
The treasures were considerable: a collection of works by artists of the 13th and 14th centuries (for example, students of Giotto – Thaddeo Gaddi and Jacopo del Cazentino), tapestries, tabernacles (carved Gothic monstrances), triptychs and polyptychs (including works by Jacopo di Cone) and sculptures.
Of course, Florence, for whom the Galleria dell’Accademia became one of the favorite children, regularly had a hand in enlarging the collection, taking care, at the same time, of the preservation of many works of art.
In 1873 the city authorities decided to open a museum of Michelangelo’s works in the premises of the Gallery for the 400th anniversary of his birth. And the jewel of the collection was, of course, the David, transferred from the Piazza della Signoria.
In 1882 a separate room, the Tribune, was built for the statue. It is said that the play of light in this room gives the illusion that the sculpture is about to sigh and come down from its pedestal.
In 1909, Michelangelo’s late works were also transferred from the Boboli Gardens to the Galleria dell’Accademia: four unfinished statues, The Slaves.
Over the years, paintings by the most famous Florentine artists – Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi, Andrea del Sarto, Botticelli, Perugino and Bronzino – have also been placed in the museum’s collection. But the paintings of Giorgio Vasari himself should be looked for in the Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti and the Uffizi Gallery, built, by the way, also according to his project. Modesty, you know, adorns the genius…
Tickets to the Galleria dell’Accademia
To find the building where the Galleria Accademia is located, from Piazza Duomo walk along Via Ricasoli to house number 58-60. If the Gallery is the first point of the program when visiting the center, from other parts of the city you will have to take buses number 6, 14, 19, 23, and 31.
You’ll know you’re not far alone in your burning desire to see the museum’s undeniable treasures by the impressive crowd long before you even get there.
The halls of the Galleria dell’Accademia
Of course, there are crowds of tourists everywhere in Florence. You could even say that its entire historic center in any season is one big crowd, but the Galleria dell’Accademia almost leads the way in this respect.
The reason must be sought in all the same Michelangelo’s “David”, seeing him in the original is one of the main reasons to visit Florence in principle.
And in order to buy tickets to the Galleria dell’Accademia, you’ll have to wait a bit, to put it mildly. At different times of the year – from an hour to three. All the more so as to admire the imperishable masterpiece in small groups of 30 people. The advantage, moreover, remains for those who already have on hand booked tickets to the Gallery of the Academy.
In other words, if you are traveling to Florence and do not want to lose time in endless lines, tickets must be purchased in advance. Thanks to the development of the Internet, it is easy to do this: on the site Getyourguide you can buy tickets online not only for the Gallery, but also for the other top attractions of the city.
It makes sense to book tickets at least a couple of days in advance.
Hours of operation
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 8:15 a.m. to 6:50 p.m.
The exhibit is closed on Mondays, December 25, January 1 and May 1.
Every last Tuesday of the month there is free admission. But also after the official closing time: from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Useful links on the subject:
Photos by: TuscanyArts, Ben Rimmer, Chris Yunker, David McSpadden, Percy, Joseph Maestri.
Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze
The Academy of Fine Arts in Florence was born in 1784, when several institutions created under the patronage of Cosimo I de’ Medici and Peter Leopold of Lorraine united to teach the craft of painting and sculpture. As a result of the creative activities of the talents gathered in one place, a collection of works of art began to accumulate, and a place was needed where they could be displayed.
The premises of two monasteries closed during Napoleonic times were used for the exposition. By the way, most of the paintings of the ⅩⅢ – ⅩⅥ centuries got into the Gallery from the liquidated churches and monasteries. An important moment in the formation of the museum was the transfer of the statue of David to it in 1873. Michelangelo’s greatest work is now on display at the Galleria dell’Accademia del Beaux-Arts in Florence.
Tickets to the Gallery
Tickets for the Gallery can be purchased at the box office or booked online on the B-ticket website. The cost of the ticket is 12 euros. Preferential rates are valid for EU citizens, art students and some other categories of visitors. Once a month – every first Sunday entrance to the museum is free for all. Tourists have audio guides in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Russian and Japanese for 6 euros.
Gallery is open from 08:15 to 18:50 hours daily except Monday. Cashier closes at 18:15 hours. The museum has no checkroom, so large backpacks, bags and helmets are not allowed access, you can bring no more than 0.5 liters of water. The Gallery has a store that sells art books and albums, guides in various languages and souvenirs of the museum’s masterpieces.
The original purpose of the gallery was educational; the formation of the pictorial and sculptural collection was necessary to introduce students to outstanding works of art and to teach their skills. Now this museum, along with the Uffizi Gallery, is one of the most important of Florence’s attractions.
In the collection of paintings in the Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts, the earliest works date from ⅩⅢ to ⅩⅣ centuries. This part of the collection consists of works by famous Florentine painters: Grifo di Tancredi, Giotto, Bernardo Daddi, Taddeo Gaddi, Andrea Orcagna, Nardo di Cone, Giovanni da Milano. The peculiarity of the altarpiece of this period is the depiction of biblical subjects on a golden background.
The paintings of the ⅩⅤ century are represented in the Academy Gallery by the works of the masters of the Late Gothic – the great miniaturist Lorenzo Monaco and Gerardo Starnina. Renaissance art developed in parallel with Gothic art in the ⅩⅤ century and is represented in the museum by works by Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi, Paolo Uccello and Alessio Baldovinetti.
The works of ⅩⅥ century artists Fra Bartolomeo, Santi di Tito, Alessandro Allori and Andrea del Sarto al Pontormo enter into a dialogue with the sculptures of Michelangelo and demonstrate the development of Florentine painting during the Counter-Reformation.
The Sculpture Collection and David
The collection of sculptural works began at the Florence Academy of Art with the so-called Gypsotheca by Lorenzo Bartolini, a talented sculptor and professor at the Academy. The exhibition also includes works by famous graduates of the academy from different times.
In the museum’s collection is a clay model of the famous sculpture by Giambologna “The Abduction of the Sabine Women”, the original of which stands in the famous Loggia Lanzi in Piazza della Signoria in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. There, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, Michelangelo’s David stood until 1873. The sculpture deteriorated in the open street space and it was decided to transfer it to the Galleria dell’Accademia. The architect Fabrice designed a special space in the museum building to house the monumental masterpiece. Michelangelo’s David has a height of 5 m 17 cm and weighs 5560 kg. For a long 9 years, until 1882, the statue was encased in a wooden case while space was being prepared for it in the Gallery of the Florence Academy of Art. There are several other works by Michelangelo in the collection: four sculptures of prisoners from the tomb of Pope Julius Ⅱ, St Matthew and the so-called “Palestinian Pieta”.
The music section of the Gallery was created in 2001 when the Department of Musical Instruments was opened at the Academy of Arts. It is based on the conservatory’s Luigi Cherubini collection and almost fifty musical instruments from the private aristocratic collections of the second half of the ⅩⅦ to the first half of the ⅩⅨ centuries.
Among them are the unique instruments of Antonio Stradivari – tenor viola, cello and violin; the cello of Nicolo Amati and other treasures. The Hall of Musical Instruments is adorned with paintings by Gabbiani and Bartolomeo Bimbi, illustrating courtly musical life.
Gallery of the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence on Google Panorama
How to get there
The best way to get to the Galleria dell’Accademia del Beaux-Arts is by bus. The nearest stop is in Piazza San Marco, where buses 6, 10, 14, 23, 31 and 32 stop. Here is also the active Dominican monastery, where you can visit the National Museum of San Marco.
If you get off at the previous stop, Santissima Annunziata, you can also see the sights of one of Florence’s most beautiful squares, “Santissima Annunziata”.
You can also take a cab to the Galleria dell’Accademia in Via Ricasoli; it is customary to order a car in Florence by phone. The cost of boarding is 3.3 euros on weekdays, about 5 euros on weekends, the fare by kilometer is from 1 to 2 euros according to the season. Read more about transportation in Florence in this article: