In 1784, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Pietro Leopoldo, converted the friary of San Matteo and the convent of San Niccolò di Cafaggio to house the Gallery so students in the adjoining Accademia delle Belle Arti (Fine Arts Academy) could study the greatest works of the past.
Today, it is visited mostly by people who want to see Michelangelo's David. Undoubtedly the world's most famous sculpture, the museum also houses five other Michelangelo sculptures - the four unfinished Prisoners and St. Matthew - and a collection of Gothic and Renaissance paintings that were once in the Medici collections.
Join the "Florence on Your Own" tour and depart the pier for the approximate 1.5-hour drive to Florence. En route, your guide provides you with historical and practical information about the city, along with a detailed map of the historical centre to make it easier to get around. This visit represents an ideal tour for visitors who have been to Florence before, or feel independent enough to explore the city without the help of a local guide.
Upon arrival in Florence, you are dropped off at Lungarno Pecori Giraldi. From here walk to Piazza Santa Croce which is a city of many layers, Florence is at once an overrun tourist magnet and a living, breathing Medieval city that is home to proud Florentines. The stomping ground of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Dante and Machiavelli, among others, Florence and its cultural importance cannot be overstated. It is home to three of the world's most renowned museums, the Uffizi, Galleria dell'Accademia and the Bargello, and boasts an incredible number of important churches that house equally-important master works.
Tickets are pre-reserved for 12:00 (Noon) only. Guests touring independently and those on tour, please meet the Silversea representative at the entrance to the museum to obtain your pre-reserved tickets. The museum requires a moderate amount of walking. The museum portion of this excursion is recommended for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. Tickets are very limited; we suggest booking well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Michelangelo's David arrived in 1873, moved here from the Piazza della Signoria in order to better conserve it. A copy of the statue still stands in Piazza della Signoria where it formerly was displayed. Despite the familiarity of the statue's image, the sheer size of the marble statue comes as a surprise. Commissioned by the Opera del Duomo in 1501, the work was deliberately designed to symbolize the virtues of Republican Florence and freedom from foreign and papal domination. Recently, it has come to symbolize the ultimate symbol of the artistic and intellectual ambitions of the Renaissance.
The 16-foot high block of marble was transformed in 3 years into the work of art that was to establish, along with the Pietà displayed at the Vatican, Michelangelo's reputation as the foremost sculptor of his day. David was always intended as an outdoor sculpture which explains some of the extraordinary physical distortions evident in the statue, such as the overly large hands and head. Even the eyes are made to be looked at from below; when examined from statue eye level, in fact, the two eyes were found to be looking in different directions.
Among the other works housed in the Galleria are Giambologna's original plaster copy of the Rape of the Sabines (original marble one located in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Piazza della Signoria), Botticelli's Madonna and Child and Madonna of the Sea, and a few works by Perugino, Filippino Lippi, Pontormo, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Bronzino. There is also an extensive collection of plaster models from the 18th century as well as early 13th century religious works by Giovanni di Milano, the Orcagna brothers, Taddeo Gaddi and others that were followers of Giotto.
Recently, the treasured collection of musical instruments from the "Luigi Cherubini" Conservatory of Music has been added to the collection, enhancing the museum's holdings.
Please note: This tour requires an extensive amount of walking and is not suitable for guest with limited mobility, if intended to explore Florence. The coach is not permitted to drop guests into the city centre and a walk of about 15 minutes between the coach park and town is necessary. Guests must meet at the pre-arranged time and place advised by your escort for the return drive to Livorno and your awaiting ship. Guests failing to re-join their coach and escort as advised, will be responsible for returning to Livorno at their own expense. Bring local currency or credit cards for any purchases. Free time in Florence for independent exploration is approximately 6 hours. The tour inside the Accademia is not a guided tour. It offers entrance only with skip the line tickets.