Born in Caprese, Tuscany, Michelangelo Buonarotti grew up in Florence and has long been associated with the city. Additionally, Florence—as well as the city of Rome—is currently home to some of Michelangelo's greatest works.
Michelangelo is the best-documented artist of the 16th century. Before the age of 30, he created two of his best-known sculptures, the "Pietà" and "David." He also created two of the most famous frescoes in the history of Western art, the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, and "The Last Judgment," which is found in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel.
Florence is where you will find the sculpture of David, which is one of the great icons of Renaissance art, as well as numerous other sculptures, paintings, and architectural projects by the Italian artist. There are several places in Florence where you can see his work and learn more about his life.
The Galleria dell'Accademia houses the original sculpture of David, which is considered one of Michelangelo's finest works of art and one of the most iconic sculptures in the modern world.
David once stood in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence's City Hall, as a symbol of the city's independence. There are now copies of David in front of the Palazzo Vecchio and in the center of Piazzale Michelangelo, a hilltop square famous for its panorama of Florence.
A few other Michelangelo works reside in the Accademia. They are "The Four Prisoners," a marble grouping designed for the tomb of Pope Julius II, and a statue of Saint Matthew.
Michelangelo once owned Casa Buonarroti on Via Ghibellina. Located in the Santa Croce district of Florence, Casa Buonarroti was left to Michelangelo's nephew Lionardo Buonarroti when the artist passed away and was later converted to a museum by his great-nephew, Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger.
The house now contains several sculptures and drawings, including two of Michelangelo's early relief sculptures: "Battle of the Centaurs" and "Madonna of the Stairs." Additionally, a specially-equipped room in the house displays a small number of the drawings of Michelangelo on rotation throughout the year.
Florence's premier museum for sculpture, the Bargello, boasts a few Michelangelo sculptures, too.
The most famous of these is "Bacchus," a statue depicting a tipsy Bacchus (God of Wine) adorned with grapes and holding a chalice. Additionally, in the Bargello, there's Michelangelo's "David Apollo," which bears similarity to the David in the Accademia; a bust of Brutus; and the "Tondo Pitti," a relief sculpture in the round depicting the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus.
The Museum of the Duomo, which holds many prized objects from Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo), is where you'll find "The Deposition," another fine sculpture by this Renaissance master.
Also called "The Florentine Pietà" (Michelangelo's more famous Pietà is in Rome), "The Deposition" shows the dead Christ being held up by the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Nicodemus.
The well-known Palazzo Vecchio still functions as Florence's city hall, but much of it is now a museum.
Palazzo Vecchio is also the site of yet another Michelangelo sculpture, "The Genius of Victory," but it is also where Michelangelo was to paint a monumental depiction of the Battle of Cascina. Unfortunately, the painter never got the chance to start this project, though some art historians believe it may be "lost."
In fact, some believe that Leonardo's "Battle of Anghiari" frescos still exist beneath one wall of the Palazzo.
Basilica di Santo Spirito
Located in the popular Oltrarno district, the Basilica di Santo Spirito is home to one of Michelangelo's earliest-known sculptures, a wooden Crucifix he created in 1493 to thank the church for taking him in and allowing him to study the anatomy of human cadavers in a nearby hospital.
This unique sculpture is one of the few depictions of Jesus Christ on the cross where Jesus is portrayed as a frail, teenaged boy instead of an adult man, and many historians believe the choice was inspired by the many corpses of young men that Michelangelo saw during his time at the hospital.
Although it only has one of Michelangelo's pieces, the Uffizi Gallery is certainly worth the visit. In fact, the Uffizi is Italy's most visited museum, welcoming up to 10,000 people a day to the halls of this former home of the judiciary offices of Florence.
The "Tondo Doni" is considered another of Michelangelo's masterpieces and can be found here. Considered to be his first painting on canvas—created during his stay in the city between 1501 and 1504—the "Tondo Doni" is the only work of this kind in Florence.
The Uffizi Gallery is also home to the Leonardo da Vinci's only completed panel painting, "The Annunciation," as well as a number of portraits by Raphael in halls 35 and 66.