Florence Travel Guide

Florence is the capital city of the italian region of Tuscany.A centre of medieval European trade and finance, the city is often considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and was long ruled by the Medici family. Florence is also famous for its magnificent art and architecture.

About Florence

Florence covers an area of 39 square miles (102 sq. Km) and is estimated to have a population of 430.000 people being one of the most visited cities in Italy. The historic centre of Florence was declared a world heritage site by the UNESCO.

Academia Gallery

The most enlightenend prince of the Lorraine family that ruled over Tuscany for over a century, the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo, united in 1784 all the Florentine drawing schools into one “Academy”. He also founded a gallery to exhibit paintings with the aim of facilitating the study of the Academy’s pupils.

The seat chosen is the present location of the Museum, a building that originally housed the “Hospital of St. Matthew”, enlarged in time through the addition of several adjoining spaces. The consistency and composition of the collection displayed in this museum has changed over time due to the addition of works of art removed from suppressed convents, but also due to loss of works temporarily given or returned to other Florentine museums, in particular to the Uffizi (Bottlicelli’s “Primavera” was displayed here for many years).

Over time the Gallery has become one of the main museums in town, also thanks to the acquisition of some extraordinary masterpieces, such as the “Pieta” by Giovanni da Milano (14th century); the “Annunciation” by Lorenzo Monaco (15th century); the splendid frontal called “Cassone Adimari”showing a sumptuous marriage procession (c. 1450) and the “Madonna of the Sea”attributed to Botticelli (1445-1510). In 1873, when Michelangelo’s David was exhibited for the first time on a specially arranged tribune. For protection purposes, the statue was in fact removed from Piazza Signoria where it had represented for over four centuries the strengh and dignity of the Florentine Republic.

In the early years of the 20th century, this statue was joined by other extraordinary works of art by the same artist, such as “St. Matthew”and the four “Prisoners” originally made for the tomb of Pope Julius II in Rome, but placed in the grotto of the Boboli gardens at the end of the 15th century, and finally by the “Pietà di Palestrina” (whose attribution to the master is still somehow controversial). A capillary organisation and restoration of some of the rooms on the upper floor have allowed the museum to recently integrate the collection with a series of paintings from the 14th to the 16th centuries and to open a room displaying the chalk models of famous 19th century sculptors like Lorenzo Bartolini and Luigi Pampaloni.


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