Europe, History & Culture

A Quest for Michelangelo’s David in Florence, Italy

November 17, 2014

We were in Florence, Firenze in Italian, and on a mission to get up close and personal with Michelangelo’s David. The David we were looking for is pretty hard to miss at 5.17 metres high.  Michelangelo sculpted David from a block of marble so tall, narrow and riddled with defects that no one dared use it for fear it might break. Impressive! And even more impressive is that Michelangelo completed David in a record time of two years.

The Galleria dell’Accademia is the home of Michelangelo’s original David, as well as with many other Florentine and Tuscan treasures from the 14th to 16th century. We had reserved tickets to visit the Accademia and in the meantime, set out to explore Firenze’s historical sites including Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, and Palazzo Vecchio.

Discovering David at Piazza della Signoria

We were amazed to bump into David in Piazza della Signoria. It turns out that the original David resided in this Piazza before being moved to the Accademia for shelter and protection. We had stumbled upon an impressive replica.

 Michelangelo's David Piazza della Signoria Florence

David at Galleria dell’Accademia

Upon arrival at the Galleria dell’Accademia, we made a beeline for Michelangelo’s David, along with everyone else. David looms large at the end of a long hall, and his magnetic pull is impossible to resist. Up close, he didn’t disappoint. It is amazing to think that such beauty emerged from a sketchy (7 m) block of marble. We have been back to the Galleria dell’Accademia to visit with David numerous times since our first encounter in 2009. On subsequent visits, we have acknowledged David’s presence, but taken our time approaching. There are many other treasures on the path to David, including Michelangelo’s four Prisoners (also known as Slaves) emerging from blocks of marble.

Another David at Piazza Michelangelo

It turns out there are a few more replicas of Michelangelo’s David watching over Florentines, as well as those fortunate enough to visit the city. If you visit Piazza Michelangelo, a spacious plaza offering magnificent views of Florence and the Arno River, you will find a beautiful bronze replica of David.

Michelangelo's David Piazza Michelangelo Florence.

Another David at Galleria dell’Accademia

The final David we encountered is a relatively new arrival and hard to miss with a bubble gum pink body and bright yellow hair. This modernist David resides in a courtyard at the Galleria dell’Accademia.

Replica of Michelangelo's David Galleria dell'Accademia

The Galleria dell’Accademia recently announced that visitors can take photos of the original David; I am excited to return to Florence to photograph this masterpiece.

Travel Tips

  • The Galleria is popular so be sure to book your tickets in advance. Here is a link to the Galleria dell’Accademia website.

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