Christmas in Italy – Visiting the legendary Accademia Gallery!

Christmas in Italy – Visiting the legendary Accademia Gallery!

In keeping with the tradition of adventure, Sarah and I went on a big trip for Christmas and New Years!

This year, we met up with Sarah’s family in Italy, traveling to Rome and Florence; not quite a perfect midpoint for everyone, but it was close enough. And, also, you know. Rome. Florence. Amazing!

Please forgive me for some of these being a bit out of order… the posts are organized somewhat chronologically… but also organized by theme and location.  Some may not be exactly in chronological order, so for reference please see the initial summary post, which has a complete day-by-day, blow-by-blow account of the adventure.


Saturday, 30-Dec-2018


Our visit to the Accademia was a bit unplanned – we hadn’t aimed to go today, but we found ourselves with a fair bit of time free, and quite literally ran into the entrance line while wandering around. Since we’re here, let’s see some sculptures!

But before we see art, we have to wait. The lines in Florence are impressive – earlier in the day we’d tried to get tickets to the Duomo, a famous church dome, and found that the line was over four hours long… to use tickets purchased three days prior. The Accademia isn’t quite that long of a line, but it still look all of Bill and Greta’s queueing prowess to see us through it quickly and sanely. Upside of them moving to Scotland – they are pros at the British art of the queue.


Once we’re inside, we find a museum setup that I’m pretty used to – instead of the usual single-track path, the Accademia has a whole series of interconnected galleries, just like the Museum of Science in Boston, or the Portland Art Museum.

Map in hand, we systematically work our way through, staying as a group and learning / joking about the exhibits. I think a lot of us had started hitting the saturation point, in terms of museuming, so we started breaking down a little bit… not in a bad way, but in a giggling, “hehe look at the baby faces with wings! This one is eating St. John’s toe!” sort of way.

Yep. Baby faces with wings. Turns out, everyone paints angels slightly differently. These ones were disembodied baby heads with six wings.


On a different note from baby heads – we saw the oldest known violin! This one was Leah’s goal in the Accademia – She’s a quite skilled musician, so getting to see the old instruments exhibit was her version of what the DaVinci museum was for me – the rest of us were a bit lost, but she was getting to see the origins of her entire style of music. Pretty amazing.

Ohh, yeah. There was the one other sculpture in the Accademia. The one by the famous guy? Maybe you’ve heard of “David”?

Yep. David was there, in all his naked, ripped glory.

First off – dude’s tall. 20Ft tall. I was not aware that David was that big – we learned that the block of marble was strictly controlled, and was only awarded to the absolute best sculptor, due to its size and perfection… kind of neat, and the end result was obviously worth that investment. The way it was displayed was also really neat – the path to David was lined with unfinished sculptures, seemingly showing figures forming out of the rock itself. And then, in this distance, the perfect figure standing in glory. Really great curation.

The rest of the museum was sort of like the Vatican, unfortunately. It was very interesting, but just so crowded that it was almost impossible to really appreciate any individual piece. That wasn’t a huge loss though, since most of the pieces past David were casts or models… test pieces for other pieces spread across the world. They were interesting, but most had some sort of irregularity or imperfection… which was just that much more obvious after seeing David.

The Accademia was honestly amazing though, and the chance to see it was well worth the initial line.

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