The Galleria dell'Accademia, in the heart of art-lover’s Florence, was founded in 1784 by Pietro Leopoldo, a Grand Duke of Tuscany. It is a smaller museum compared to the vast Uffizi nearby, but is an amazing companion piece to the art history teeming around Firenze. Along with the art-masterpiece packed Palazzo Pitti (and the adjoining Boboli Gardens), The Galleria dell'Accademia is a must-see in the art trio of galleries right at the center of Firenze. The Galleria dell’Accademia has an intimate 19th century ambience to its slim corridors and cathedral ceilings, with busts lining the walls before immense paintings, and it has housed the original iconic and gargantuan David by Michelangelo since 1873, with a copy of David still present in its original location on Piazza della Signoria. The gallery has small but formidible collection of Michelangelo's work including his four unfinished sculptures: Prisoners, once intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II, and a statue of Saint Matthew, also unfinished. In 1939, these were joined by a Pietà discovered in the Barberini chapel in Palestrina, though experts now consider its attribution to Michelangelo to be most likely untrue. Other paintings and sculptures on view in the gallery are Florentine paintings from the 13th and 16th centuries, including works by Paolo Uccello, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Sandro Botticelli and Andrea del Sarto; and, from the High Renaissance, Giambologna's impressive original full-size plaster modello for the Rape of the Sabine Women. After the art viewing and a leisurely walk in the Boboli Gardens, you can sit in the Piazza della Signoria with a cup of hot chocolate or or a glass of wine and a meal, admiring the architecture which changed the European world 600 years ago. One can trace the meanderings and romantic scenes right there from one’s table of the E. M. Forster novel (and sumptuous Merchant-Ivory film) A Room With a View (1986).
The film Hannibal, and the series Hannibal were both filmed in Firenze, among dozens of other movies highlighting the beauty and art aesthetics of the town which gave birth to the Humanist Renaissance, thanks in much part to Cosimo de’Medici and his patronage of artist workshops, architectects, and his equivalent to 160 million dollars contribution to the formation and maintenance of the first Humanist library, and the first free and open library in Europe in 1000 years.