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Northern Florence-Museo di San Marco, Galleria dell'Accademia

The Galleria dell’Accademia houses the very famous Michelangelo´s David (Picture 3) (tel. 055 294 883; Via Ricasoli 60; open 8.15am- 6.50pm, closed Mon). The statue was begun by two different sculptors who abandoned the project until Michelangelo took up the work and created this perfect piece. It was sculpted in one huge block of marble and originally placed in Piazza della Signoria. Other works by Michelangelo which were made for Julius II tomb are San Matteo (1540-08), which was not finished, and Prisoners (1521-30).
Andrea Orcagna, Taddeo Gaddi, Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi and Sandro Botticelli are represented in the other rooms.


In the university area of Florence lies the Church of Saint Mark and its15th century monastery (Picture 1) once the home of Fra’Angelico and Savonarola. You cannot leave Florence without visiting its Museo di San Marco. The museum is housed in the monastery (tel. 055 238 86 08; Piazza San Marco 1; open 8.15am, to 1.50 Tue-Fri, to 4.50pm Sat, to 4.50 on the 2nd and 4th Sun, and 1st and 3rd and 5th Mon each month). Particularly devoted to Fra Angelico’s works, the museum is a must see.
From the Cloister of Saint Antoninus whose entrance is on Via Michelozzo, enter the Sala dell’Ospizio which is on the right. Here are exhibited Fra Angelico‘s most important paintings, among which is Deposition of Christ, at first destined for the Chiesa di Santa Trinità. It is a true demonstration of Realism and perspective.
The refectory displays the Miraculous Supper of Saint Domenic (1536) by Giovanni Antonio Sogliani. The enormous Crucifixion and Saints by Fra’ Angelico is in the ancient chapterhouse. To inspire the monks their cells were individually painted. Fra’ Angelico or other artists directed by him completed the paintings between 1440 and 1441. Among the artists was Benozzo Gozzoli. Cell 38-39 is decorated with the Adoration of the Magi (Picture 2). It was Cosimo the Elder’s cell when he decided to devote himself to religion.
The cell devoted to San Antonino Arcivescovo is absolutely stunning. On its walls you can see Jesus pushing a demon while opening his own sepulchre. Fra’ Angelico was finally canonized by John Paul II.
Savonarola’s rooms in the monastery are a world apart. After becoming prior of the monastery, he angrily complained that the clergy was greedy and had succumbed  to extravagance and dishonesty. His portrait, a few belongings, a linen banner he used to hold when there was a procession and a monument some admirers devoted to him in the 19th century are kept here.