Founded in 1562 by Cosimo I de’Medici, with the help of artist and architect Giorgio Vasari, the Accademia di Belle Arti was the first institution of its kind. The Accademia Gallery, located in the same complex, was later founded in 1784 by Pietro Leopoldo, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Home to an impressive art collection by various Italian masters, its most famous piece by far is Michelangelo's David. Created in the early 16th century, this sculpture is a marble masterpiece that stands over five meters tall, towering above visitors from its pedestal. Originally meant as one of a series of biblical figures to decorate the roof of the Duomo di Firenze, it was deemed too heavy by the time it was completed and was instead installed in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, in the Piazza della Signoria, in 1504. The David was not moved to its current place in the Accademia Gallery until 1873 to preserve it from both human and weather damage. The replica that now takes its place in the Piazza was added in 1910.