The Accademia Gallery in Florence is a must for art enthusiasts. The iconic Michelangelo’s David is at the centre of a fascinating collection of sculptures and 14th-16th paintings that are well worth the long queue. You’ll see the greats like Filippo Lippi, Botticelli and a splendid collection of Florentine Gothic work.

The Accademia is one of Florence’s top attractions. As with every popular, crowded museum a guided visit is a good idea. A knowledgable guide will make your experience that much more memorable, otherwise opt for one of their informative audio guides. Our advice? Choose a few things to see properly rather than trying to see it all. Visit the official ticketing site to book a trip in advance and avoid queuing. Or go very early in the morning, before opening time.

⇒ How to spend the Perfect 2 Days in Florence.

Michelangelo’s work at the Accademia:


Many believe that no other artwork can compete with the greatness of the David. The statue was a symbol of Michelangelo’s genius and of Florence itself, a city proud of its inheritance and achievements. It’s a grand and expressive statue whose magnetic appeal hasn’t diminished with the passing years.


Michelangelo is undoubtedly the king of the show here, and standing face to face with some of his “unfinished” statues reveals a lot about his work.

Awakening slave - Michelangelo

Awakening slave – Michelangelo

Michelangelo famously said his aim was to “free” the sculptures that were already inhabiting the marble, and when you see his “Slaves” ( Prigioni ), a series of unfinished sculptures in the Hall of the Prisoners, you get an idea of what he meant.

The “Awakening Slave” for example, looks like he’s trying to liberate himself from the constrictions of the stone, while “Atlas” seems to be pushing the heavy weight of the world from his shoulders, his head painfully buried under it.

⇒ For more works by the master, a visit to the Bargello Museum is a must. Here’s a  complete list of all Michelangelo’s works in Florence.

Paintings by Fra’ Bartolomeo, Pontormo, Andrea del Sarto are placed alongside the Hall of the Prisoners to witness an era of extraordinary artistic achievements.

Other Medieval and Renaissance masterpieces:


In the Hall of Colossus, there’s a plaster cast model by Giambologna of the sculpture visible in Piazza Signoria “Rape of the Sabines“. This Mannerist artist was inspired by Michelangelo and developed a style that was at once elegantly classical and very elaborate.

In the same room there is, among other things, the XV century paintings Botticelli’s Madonna of the Sea and the intriguing Cassone Adimari – the front of a wedding chest depicting a nuptial feast in the1450s.

Madonna of the sea - Botticelli

Madonna of the sea – Botticelli


A collection of Florentine Gothic paintings is hosted in the last section of the Gallery on the ground floor. Amongst the richly golden pieces, notice the fascinatingly complex “Tree of Life” by Pacino di Bonaguida. This is a complex symbolic painting representing the divine plan for redemption: the pelican on the top of the cross is en emblem of Christ’s sacrifice that will save humanity.

Amongst the works of Giotto, don’t miss the elegant Coronation of the Virgin with splendidly conveyed details.


If you’re interested in what the Medici would have listened to, there’s a Grand Ducal collection of forty musical instruments, including a precious Stradivari viola (1690) with a Medici crest. The collection shows how music played a part in the official celebrations of the Medicean Court. It includes a piano invented by Cristofori for Cosimo III’s court around 1699.

Booking in advance for the Accademia:

When you book the ticket in advance you have the option of doing it through the official website which is cheaper (8 euro, or 16,50 in occasion of exhibition, plus 4 euro for booking in advance) or you can book through a private website which is more expensive (around 24 euro) but the sites are easier to use.


Your friendly online guide to Florence and Tuscany. Get our insider travel tips delivered to your mailbox every month.

Share your love of Tuscany!

Explore more of Tuscany

  • Florence in May offer up some colourful possibilities to the curious visitor. There are beautiful gardens and villas to explore, flower festivals and a flag-throwing competition to be seen, and a whole event dedicated to...
  • It’s one of those places everyone dreams of going to. The question is what to do in Tuscany when you’re there. Don’t worry, this is a place that’s overflowing with sights, and unforgettable experiences. In...
  • Storybook villages in Tuscany are not in short supply. Small towns in enchanting locations, full of turreted towers, romantic archways, secret passageways and plenty of magical atmosphere. Go there and you feel you’re walking around...
  • In this 5 day itinerary travelling around Tuscany, we whisk you from the awe-inspiring Piazza dei Miracoli, to some of the world’s Medieval treasures and, of course, through some of the best scenery that Tuscany...
  • Love is always in the air in Florence. Maybe because there’s no shortage of romantic things to do here. From watching the golden sunsets on the river Arno, and strolling in the Bardini gardens to...