on July 1, 2004
Probably the best pre-travel decision we made was to purchase our tickets to the Accadmia Gallery in advance. The drawback was that we had to be at a specific place at a specific time (we got our tickets for 9 a.m. on a Tuesday, as the gallery is closed on Mondays). The benefit far outweighed the drawback when we arrived and saw the lines. There were two lines. One for people with tickets, one for people without. Yes, even with ticket reservations, we had to wait in line – but it was filled mostly with groups so it moved quickly. The line for those without reservations crawled by at a snail’s pace. The advance purchase ended up being around 18 €, including the fees. Otherwise, the entrance is 12.5€
Not a patron of the Renaissance arts, I’ve got to say that the only reason for going is to see Michelangelo’s David. There are other unfinished Michelangelo works in the museum, and some other art, but really, it’s David that is the draw, and David that is the highlight.
As soon as you enter the gallery, you can tell which direction you need to go based on the crowds of people. The first glimpse of David does not disappoint. And it’s not even his nakedness that I noticed first – the statue is just awe-inspiring as a whole. As a matter of fact, I spent more time looking at the back of the statue – how his slingshot hangs down the muscular back, how his muscles are formed from the marble (a piece of marble that everyone else thought inferior.) There’s seating around behind the statue. Rest your feet, sit down, take it all in. Listen to the tour guides as they lead their groups through. Listen to your fellow tourists’ reactions to the statue.
David was meant to be viewed from below – he was to be lifted high above the city and displayed. So if you’re thinking to yourself how out-of-proportion his hands are, or his head, you’d be correct. However, the Florentines were so in love with this statue that they couldn’t bear to part with him. As a matter of fact, they were so in love with this statue that there are replicas everywhere. One at the Piazzelle Michelangelo outside of the city proper, and one in the Piazza Signora.
We were very lucky. Just two weeks before our visit the restoration work that had been going on for years on the statue was completed, and the scaffolding removed. However, that didn’t mean we could take any photos – they’re strictly prohibited, though I suppose you could get away with a surreptitious snapshot sans flash. So just stop in the gift shop on the way out and grab a few postcards – you wouldn’t be able to get a good shot anyway.
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