The must-sees museum in Florence
Six museums in Florence, to get dizzy with the beauty of art
Florence should be savored slowly, but if you have only three days to bite into it with gusto and enthusiasm, or only a few hours to take in the atmosphere and highlights, here is a mini-guide to Florence’s major museums, for each of which we have selected one or more must-see works of art. Six museums and their masterpieces (with the Firenze Card you get a 72-hour access to the museums without having to wait in line…). So let’s take off on our journey through beauty.
The Gallery is housed on the first and second floor of the large building designed by Giorgio Vasari and erected between 1560 and 1580. Giotto, Botticelli, Mantegna, Correggio, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Caravaggio are only some of the names that will pass before your eyes, until you will be facing two beautiful young girls representing the same woman: Simonetta Vespucci, who was known as La Sans Par (the unparalleled one) by the men of her time. Giuliano de’ Medici, the younger brother of Lorenzo the Magnificent, fell in love with her, as well as Sandro Botticelli, for whom Simonetta is said to have posed for the Birth of Venus and Primavera (in the Uffizi Gallery’s rooms 10 to 14 devoted to Botticelli). A quick tour of the museum must include The Diptych of the Dukes of Urbino, circa 1465-1472, by Piero della Francesca, and the Doni Tondo, showcased in a 41 room.
Every age has its star and during the years when the Palatine Gallery was being set up, the undisputed star was Raphael. The current arrangement of paintings reflects the original one and represents Italy’s most notable example of Baroque picture gallery, in which the paintings are displayed according to decorative criteria. Here the must-see is the Madonna of the Chair by Raphael, one of the last tondi of the Tuscan sixteenth-century school. The painting is absolutely mesmerizing because of the bodies in perfect balance
It is one of Florence’s richest museums, with a collection of masterworks that is sure to impress. The are three masterpieces in the Michelangelo hall alone. The Mercury by Giambologna welcomes visitors at the entrance to the museum. The statue is a wonder of lightness: Mercury is keeping his balance while soaring, defying the force of gravity. The Bacchus, an early work by Michelangelo, gives an impression of both the god’s youthfulness and state of drunkenness. The David by Donatello is a small-sized statue, an icon of the early Florentine Renaissance, one of the first sculptures in the round since ancient Roman times.
ACCADEMIA GALLERY. And what if the David by Michelangelo were not the only star of this wonderful place? People come from all over the world to see him, today just like in 1873, the year the statue was moved to the Museum after 350 years spent in Piazza della Signoria, and might miss the opportunity to look carefully at the works by Pontormo and Allori, at the wonderful gold-ground paintings by Lorenzo Monaco…While the collection of plaster casts by Bartolini is extraordinarily beautiful, the four unfinished statues by Michelangelo, the Prisoners, leave visitors dizzy with awe.
MEDICI CHAPELS MUSEUM
A wonderful museum which includes the Church of San Lorenzo, the Old Sacristy and the Medicean Library. Another must-see is the New Sacristy, whose architectural and sculptural interior was designed and carved by Michelangelo as appendant to the Sacristy by Brunelleschi. In 1975, an extraordinary discovery was made: a small refuge beneath the Medici Chapel, where Michelangelo hid in the waning days of the Florentine Republic and before the return of the Medicis to power.
OPERA DEL DUOMO MUSEUM
It is simply breathtaking. The Museum’s first hall, which is housed in the scenic spaces of a former nineteenth-century theatre, Teatro degli Intrepidi, features along one of its walls a 36-meter-long replica of the Duomo’s original fourteenth-century façade, designed and sculpted by Arnolfo di Cambio, which was taken down in 1586-87. Showcased on the first floor is the Penitent Magdalene, a wooden sculpture by Donatello, facing one of Michelangelo’s last amazing sculptures, Pietà Bandini.