Where & How to See Michelangelo’s David
The David is undeniably one of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s most iconic masterpieces. This perfectly chiseled, larger-than-life marble sculpture is famous for its realistic detail and idealized proportions. If you are an art history lover, or simply want to see what all the fuss is about, you are bound to make your way to Florence, Italy, to see Michelangelo’s David with your own eyes.
Read on to learn useful information about where exactly this famous sculpture is located, how you can get tickets to see it, and why this beautiful Renaissance classic is worth visiting.
So Just Where is the David Now?
If you are wondering where this magnificently sculpted block of marble is kept, we have your answer; it is on display at the beautiful Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, Italy. Why Florence you ask? Well, it is because young Michelangelo was commissioned to complete this remarkably grand work here between 1501 and 1504. Besides being difficult to transport, taking this 17 feet tall beauty out of its city of origin just wouldn’t be right as it has brought pride to Florence each day since its creation.
Galleria dell’Accademia Address: Via Ricasoli, 58/60, 50122, Florence, Italy. To see the museum on a map, click here.
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 8:15 am – 6:50 pm. Closed Mondays. The museum will also be closed on December 25, January 1, and May 1.
Note that before entering the gallery you will have to go through a metal detector and bag check for security purposes. Since the museum does not have a place to check your belongings; we advise you to avoid bringing large backpacks, suitcases, etc, as they are not permitted inside.
How to Reserve Your Tickets
If you are looking to visit Michelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell’Accademia, the trailing stand-by line out the door will surely give its location it away. While it is no wonder why so many people queue up for hours to see Michelangelo’s fantastic creation, there are much easier ways to reserve your spot in advance to avoid the grueling wait.
To book your tickets in advance online visit B-ticket.com, the official reseller of museum tickets in Florence.
Alternatively, you can book by phone by calling Firenze Musei at +39-055-294-883 (Monday – Friday, 8:30am to 6:30pm, Saturday 8:30am to 12:30pm, closed Sundays.) Keep in mind the time difference from where you are calling and that international fees may apply.
It is also possible to get your tickets in person on the day of, but we do not advise this as the lines can be long and entrance is not guaranteed. If you do choose to go this route, remember that the ticket office closes at 6:20 pm before the museum starts closing down at 6:40 pm.
How Much Do Tickets Cost?
Excluding the reservation fee, tickets to enter the gallery range from free to €12. Remember that you will always have to pay €4 extra for pre-booking tickets, no matter how you book. This means that the cost of a full-priced ticket booked in advance is €16. While most people are required to pay the full amount, minors under the age of 18 are allowed free entrance with proof of identification. EU citizens under 25 and persons with disabilities may be entitled to reduced costs as well.
If you happen to be in Florence on the first Sunday of the month, admission to the gallery is completely free for everyone! Sounds amazing right? If you decide to take advantage of this wonderful day of giving, plan to get there early because tickets can’t be booked in advance or you can get skip the line Vatican tour.
The Best Ways to Get There
Located just a short walk away from Piazza San Marco and the famous Florence Cathedral, the Accademia Gallery is centrally located and fairly easy to find. Conveniently enough, the home of Michelangelo’s David is less than a fifteen minute walk away from the Santa Maria Novella train station! Thus, arriving by train is pretty ideal. Plus, the views of the Tuscan hills that you’ll see on the way are breathtaking!
If you are arriving by plane, you can reach the city center from the Florence airport (FLR) in just 15 minutes by taxi. You can tell the driver to drop you off at Piazza San Marco as it is a convenient place to stop and is just steps away from the entrance. For a cheaper alternative, the frequently running “Vola in Bus” bus shuttle will drop you off at the Santa Maria Novella train station for just €6 one way, or €10 roundtrip.
Arriving by car? Keep in mind that vehicles without a permit may be restricted in the historical city center. With that being said, there are several options for parking outside of the city if need be, as well as inside the city if you are allowed access.
Why You Need to See Michelangelo’s David in Person
Michelangelo’s David has been making waves in the art world for centuries. Incredibly enough, this astonishing work was carved entirely out of one single block of marble. Despite the marble slab being prone to breakage, Michelangelo took on the project anyways and mastered each curve and detail with perfection. From the flexed thigh muscles in the right leg, to the pulsing veins on the left hand, every anatomical detail is executed with immense realism which shows Michelangelo’s extraordinary understanding of the human body.
This masterpiece is also revolutionary in that it depicts the biblical hero David, in an entirely new way than ever before. While many past sculptors and painters depicted David following his victory with the giant head of Goliath, Michelangelo decided to present the moment just before the battle. Standing alert in a contrapposto pose, the hero gazes at his enemy with concentration. In this case, David’s cleverness and confidence are emphasized over his weapon which represents the ideals of a true Renaissance man who desires to be rich in thought.
With all of this attention to detail, who wouldn’t want to see Michelangelo’s beloved David in person?
Where Was the Sculpture Originally Located?
While today the David calls the Galleria dell’Accademia home, it was originally intended to stand somewhere else in Florence. At first, the marvelous marble statue was to be placed up high within a niche in the famous Cathedral of Florence. However, after seeing the magnificent work, the commissioners changed their mind about its placement. Instead, it was put on display for the world to see up close and personal in the political center of Florence, Piazza della Signoria.
In 1873 the David was transported to its current location for safekeeping while a replica remains in the place it once stood in front of Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza Della Signoria. We recommend that you visit its original location at least once to get a better understanding of its context and history. Another replica that is free to view stands at the top of Piazzale Michelangelo so be sure to keep an eye out for these statues of David on your next trip to Florence!
Although you have to pay for tickets to see the real thing, it is well worth it to know that the authentic sculpture is protected from harm, weathering, and earthquakes inside the Galleria dell’Accademia.
The Museum is home to Other Famous Works As Well
While you probably will go to the Galleria dell’Accademia for the David by Michelangelo, you will surely stay for the other masterpieces that call the gallery home! Michelangelo’s four marble sculptures titled “Prisoners,” or “slaves,” also line the walls of the museum and are famous for appearing unfinished. However, this look was intentional as Michelangelo intended to depict the burden of humans who are not free from what weighs them down.
Another famous work that makes an appearance in the museums is the plaster cast model of Giambologna’s “Rape of the Sabine Women.” This towering beauty is not to be missed! Paintings such as the “Tree of Life” by Pacino di Buonaguida, and “Coronation of the Virgin” by Pacino di Buonaguida also illustrate magnificently preserved examples of religious art from the 14th century.
The Best Way to See David- On a Tour!
While it is possible to see the David and the Galleria dell’Accademia on your own, opting for a guided tour of the museum or a walking tour of the area will give you so much more out of your experience. With a local guide who is an expert in Florentine history, you’ll learn just what makes this incredible city so special. We recommend our Florence Renaissance Walking Tour or our Ultimate Florence in One Day Tour.
Remember that if you are planning to visit the Galleria dell’Accademia on a guided tour, the entrance cost will be covered so there is no need to book your own tickets in advance!
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