One of the most iconic symbols of the Italian renaissance stands in the Academia Gallery in Florence. Michelangelo’s
David is an awe inspiring sight. I highly recommend either visiting the museum the moment it opens or taking part in a guided tour. Otherwise be prepared for very long lines. Spencer and I booked a walking tour of Florence that began with the Academia. As soon as you enter the museum you round the corner and see David standing at the end of a long corridor.
Michelangelo began sculpting his masterpiece in 1501. He completed it in 1503. The statue represents the biblical story of David and stands 17 feet tall. Originally placed outside in the Palazzo della Signoria, it was moved inside the Academia Gallery in 1873.
We spent almost an hour viewing David. Each angle offers a new perspective of Michelangelo’s craftsmanship. This was one of my favorite tours so far in Italy.
In the corridor leading to David are several unfinished sculptures commissioned by Pope Julius the Second. But when the Pope died no one wanted to pay for the sculptures and they were left unfinished. Our guide showed us a mysterious face carved on the back of one of the sculptures. No one is sure why Michelangelo carved it or who it represents.
After we left the Academia we moved to the Duomo and Baptistry. Our guide showed
Lorenzo Ghiberti crafted the doors to the Baptistry to depict the Old Testament in the Bible. It was Michelangelo who called the doors, “The Gates of Paradise”.
It took Ghiberti 27 years to complete the bronze doors that include 10 panels.
Due to catastrophic flooding in Florence the real doors where moved to the Museo
dell’Opera. The ones housed now at the Baptistry are replicas, but still an incredible insight into the Italian renaissance.