When I was preparing for my trip to Florence, I was excited to see the famous pieces of art, Florence is known for. I was a bit shocked by the high entrance fees for the museums in this city. Of course, I wanted to see some art, but which museum in Florence to choose? As I’m a big fan of Caravaggio, I wanted to go to the Uffizi to see 3 of his pieces there. But I knew the Accademia had the David. Because I couldn’t decide which museum in Florence to choose, I didn’t make a choice at all. I forked over the money to see the big two. This was mainly due to the fact that we had the time to go see them both and I felt the fear of missing out.
Are you pressed for time while visiting Florence? Or on a really tight budget for your visit to Tuscany? But you still want to see some of the famous pieces of art, Florence is known for? You wonder how to choose a museum in Florence? Read on and I’ll help you decide between the Uffizi museum and the Galleria dell’Accademia.
What do the 2 museums have in common?
First, let me start of by pointing out the things the two big museums in Florence have in common.
The Uffizi museum and the Galleria dell’Accademia
- Both have excellent websites for browsing and booking. Uffizi museum and Accademia Museum.
- Both are located in the centre of Florence
- Both 5***** star museums in my book
- Both entrance fees are €12 to €20 depending when you go
- You can buy your tickets online in advance
- Both museums are included in the Firenze card
The two museums seem to have a lot in common. You can easily walk to the museums and explore them while in the city. You can buy the tickets in advance via the website. You need to pay a booking fee and sometimes an additional surcharge for exhibition fees. If you really like museums, you can buy the Firenze card and go to both as much as you like. If you want to know more about the Firenze card and see if it’s worth the money, check out Indiana Jo’s blog about the card. But then you won’t be reading this article as you do not have to choose one museum in Florence over the other.
The differences between Uffizi and Accademia
They have some things in common but of course they are also different. Otherwise you would be indifferent about choosing one of the other. Well, the differences. I’ll tell you a little bit about my experiences in both museums later on, but global differences are:
Differences between Uffizi and Accademia
- The Uffizi is a gorgeous building on its own, the Accademia is not
- Uffizi’s main focus is on paintings, then sculptures and other pieces of art
- Accademia’s main focus is on sculptures
- Uffizi has many many different Italian and other artist on display
- Accademia has a few sculptures, the main focus is on 1 piece of art
- Picking up tickets at the Uffizi is easier as there is a separate entrance
- Pre brought tickets still have you waiting in line. Longer at the Accademia then at the Uffizi
- the Uffizi has a really nice cafe where you can rest, spend your euros and enjoy the view
- Accademia can be done in an hour (although you won’t do justice to the museum). If you’re short on time, you can go in and out of the Accademia while the complex of the Uffizi is much bigger and you have more ground to cover
- Uffizi has many pieces of art for your euros. It feels the ratio ‘dose of art versus euros to pay’ seems balanced
- Accademia has one of the most perfect and brilliant master pieces of art of modern times on display. The WOW factor seems to exceed the amount you have to pay.
Well, without giving away too much of my own experiences, I tried to compare the two a little bit. You can spend many many hours in the Uffizi and still haven’t seen all the pieces of art on display here. While in the Accademia, you can gawk at one of the most famous pieces of art ever made. Well, what do you choose? Please read on and I’ll tell you my experiences.
Galleria del Uffizi Museum in Florence
The famous family of Renaissance Florence, the Medici family, has been pretty dominated throughout the ages. And they loved art. And they were rich. So when you put these two together, you’ll get an enormous collection of true masterpieces. That’s the Uffizi museum, one of the top museums in Florence.
The Uffizi Museum is one of the top attractions in Florence. This museum is made by Vasari and the building itself is a true masterpiece. From one side you’ll have amazing views of the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio Bridge.
But that’s just the outside. Shall we go in? I’ll take you through the museum. Follow me please!
What to see at Uffizi Museum?
Once you’ll get inside you’ll walk from room to room. I love museums a lot and been to many before. But I also get tired quite quickly. There is so much art to see. Paintings, sculptures, busts. As many are not that famous, you’ll have to read who the painter was. Or what it depicts. I usually scan a room. See a few paintings that I like and really look at them and take my time. I didn’t find the first rooms after the entrance that interesting. The main rooms with the masterpieces are situated a little further down the museum.
The painting: the annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci at the Uffizi museum in Florence
Read more: Caravaggio paintings in Rome
The Uffizi is popular for a reason. The Uffizi museum in Florence has many great masters of art. The masterpieces and top attractions are two works of Leonardo da Vinci, one signature piece of Michelangelo and iconic works by Raphael and Titian. I was able to add 3 paintings by Caravaggio to my list which made me very happy.
Venus of Botticelli
But the main reason for going to the Uffizi was the art of Botticelli. The famous picture perfect postcard of the Birth of Venus and her little sister, La Primavera were amazing to see in real life. The Venus adorned my Greek text book for 2 years back in high school and it is depicted at every postcard, calendar and phone case sold in Florence and surroundings. But seeing the myth of Venus arriving in a sea shelve on the shore with my own eyes is a completely different thing. I love the tone of the colour pink of the mantle which has to cover the nude goddess as a contrast to the green hues of the sea. A marvellous masterpiece of Florentine’s Renaissance.
When you stand in front of the painting, you feel yourself shifting your weight to the other leg, mimicking the painting. You tilt your head a little bit while you look in the eyes of the Venus. The painting is quite large and you won’t be disappointed with it. It is a masterpiece for a reason. It speaks to you and the Uffizi is the proud museum in Florence to have it on display.
Sea Shell Room Uffizi Galleria
Half way down the first corridor on the first floor, there is a little special something for you. It’s called the Tribune. It’s a room you cannot enter but can view from 3 different sides. Inside are the most precious pieces of art from the collectors. But mainly the room is just brilliant on its own. Red velvet walls give you the feeling of a posh boudoir. The cold marble floors fit nice with the museum, but the roof is made of precious shelves. The ivory colour of the shelves is almost see-through and it is a nice little surprise after all the sculptures and paintings. Have you seen it during your visit in the Uffizi museum in Florence? What did you think of la Tribuna?
Once you get tired, and trust me, you will, you can take a break at the cafe at the end of the first floor. This cafe is top notch expensive with little service and average food, but serves a great view over the Piazza della Signoria and the Palazzo Vecchio which is one of the famous sights of Florence. But you do not have to order at the cafe to get the views. There is room to snap a picture from besides the terrace of the cafe.
Conclusion about the Uffizi museum in Florence
Well, what did you think about my tour of the Uffizi museum in Florence? Do you feel you want to go? I sure did! The Uffizi is packed full of art. For the price of €20, you get to spend the whole day roaming the halls of this museum in Florence. You can add many famous Renaissance artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Botticelli to your list of famous painters. If you like art and don’t mind spending the day in a museum, I sure recommend going to the Uffizi museum in Florence. Let me know what you thought about the Uffizi when you go visit it!
Galleria dell’Accademia Museum in Florence
Besides the Uffizi museum, there is another museum in Florence at the top of the list with things to do in the city. That’s the Galleria dell’Accademia. Home to David. David who? When you’re thinking about David Bowie, that’s understandable but not correct.
I mean: David. From Goliath. The small man in the ancient story who slays the giant Goliath with a stone. The most used metaphor for when the underdog wins from the favourite.
In the case of Florence’s David, it’s the sculpture depicting this story from the book of Samuel. David has become iconic for the city of Florence. First the statue of David was situated at the Piazza della Signoria, but was moved indoors to protect it from the weather influences. At the square, there is still a loggia showing a smaller replica of the sculpture.
Ok, I hear you think. What is all the fuss about? It’s a sculpture. A piece of marble stone. Showing a man. With a rock. Why should I wait in line and pay that much money to see it, you ask?? Well. The Accademia is a little more than just the David. It also houses sculptures from other artists and works from Michelangelo. But its main attraction is the David. And let me tell you: it is all worth it. Definitely. Without a doubt.
Other art at the Accademia
Going in the museum and trying to avoid the main room, is fun. You can first look at all the other things to see to build the suspension. In the first room, there is a cast model of the Rape of the Sabines by Giambologna. You can walk around it and feel the full scope of the sculptures. There was also an interesting display about musical instruments in the far wing of the Accademia museum in Florence. But when you’ve seen everything there is only 1 hall left. The main hall. With a skylight adorning the David, specifically built to have the right lighting for the man.
Michelangelo’s David Florence
Looking at the David is like getting a little electric shock. You have to swallow to get that chunk down your throat. You breath in some little bit of extra air, because you forgot to breath for a short moment. You look at the sculpture and feel yourself moving towards it. Eyes on the head, you’re drawn in by the intense look of the young David. You feel the tension on his face and you see the loose grip of his fingers around the sling with the stone.
You want to get closer and touch the statue. Prove to yourself that this is not a real man. Confirm that this is a sculpture made of marble. Hard and cold stone. But it looks so tender and delicate. How is this possible? How can you be mesmerized by an inert object?
The answer is: because of the brilliance of Michelangelo. Isn’t that the man who painted the Sixteenth Chappelle in Vatican City? Yes it is. But Michelangelo was first and foremost a sculptor. I already knew this from seeing his famous Pièta at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, but seeing David was of a whole different order.
The making of David
Young Michelangelo was only 26 years old when he made the David. Here are some remarkable facts from the website of the Accademia which you have to read.
This astonishing Renaissance sculpture was created between 1501 and 1504. It is a 14.0 ft marble statue depicting the Biblical hero David, represented as a standing male nude. Originally commissioned by the Opera del Duomo for the Cathedral of Florence, it was meant to be one of a series of large statues to be positioned in the niches of the cathedral’s tribunes, way up at about 80mt from the ground…
After more than two years of tough work, Michelangelo decided to present his “Giant” to the members of the Vestry Board.. In January 1504, his 14 foot tall David was unveiled only to them: they all agreed that it was far too perfect to be placed up high in the Cathedral, thus it was decided to discuss another location in town.
When you read more about the intensive labour and precise details made by Michelangelo, you will only appreciate this masterpiece more. The statue looks so real, it even made me blush a little bit. I mean, it is a nude male figure, toned to perfection. Yauwzaaa!!
If Michelango’s David would be a man, living in modern times, he would be a super model and mister Universe at the same time. He would be Instafamous just for posting pictures of himself. I’d follow him!
Did you go and see David at the Accademia museum in Florence? Were you impressed just like me?
Conclusion about the Accademia
The main attraction of the Accademia museum in Florence is the statue of David. The price of €12 to €20 (depends on the season and booking online) seems a bit much for just one piece of art, but I must stay, it was the most brilliantly crafted piece of art I’ve ever seen. You can see the David at the square of Signoria in Florence, but that doesn’t do justice to the original. You can sit and look at the David all day or go in and out under half an hour and cross it of your list of things to do. It is up to you.
Which museum in Florence do you choose?
Do you already know which museum in Florence you want to visit? Have you made up your mind? For me, it’s impossible to tell you to choose one over the other. I felt the Uffizi museum gave me a lot of paintings and gorgeous pieces of art, which are important for Renaissance art. The Accademia on the other hand, gave me 1 brilliant piece of art which I wouldn’t want to miss for the world.
Short on time and not that big of a fan of art? Go to the Accademia.
Want some art for your bucks and have the time to explore? Go to the Uffizi.
Artlover and time? Go to the Uffizi.. and the Accademia. Or buy the Firenze card and explore all of the museums in Florence.
The good thing is if you choose one over the other, you’ll have a splendid reason to go back and visit the other museum in Florence on your return visit.
Have you been to the Uffizi museum or the Accademia museum in Florence? What did you think? Which one did you like best and why? Please share your experiences in the comment section below.
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