Recently visited Venice the 5th time and shamefully made our first trip to the Academy Galleries. Being in Venice, where there there is so much beauty on the outside, it can be difficult to force yourself inside museums and churches when you really want to just walk around the endless canals and small alleys found throughout the city.
It took 5 trips to push us through the doors of the Gallerie dell'Accademia and we can say that it is a very good collection, which will be highly appreciated by fans of Italian art. However, unlike the Vatican Museum (Rome) and the Uffizi (Florence), where you are truly missing out if you don't make the effort to spend some time, it is not a make-or-break deal if you give a pass to the Gallerie dell'Accademia. While a very good gallery, in our opinion, Venice is beautiful enough on its own accord so its not critical to visit this one.
What we liked about the Galleria dell'Accademia, were the pieces by Giovanni Bellini, one of our favorite Italian painters, and the excellent room, featuring work by Carpaccio. We also much enjoyed the room featuring Venetian scenes painted by Gentile Bellini, more famous for his work in the Doge's Palace. There is also a large hall with many impressive works, can't recall the room number, featuring an impressive piece by Antonio Vivarini and Giovanni D'Alemagna called the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Angels and Saints from 1446. This one is worth spending some time.
Whats not to like about this gallery? A bit like Venice itself, the Gallery dell'Academia building does seem to be showing signs of decay and being in need of some maintenance. This seems to be an inevitable problem being in Venice due to its uniquely unfavorable environment. However, while this makes the outside appearance of Venetian buildings more mystically beautiful, it has somewhat the opposite effect for museums and galleries, making them seem poorly attended to. This is likely one of the main reasons for many of the negative and harsh remarks made for this very good collection of Italian art.
Overall, there is enough for true lovers of Italian art to love the Gallerie dell'Academy. The price for entry is not cheap (11 Euros), which is steep if you are impartial to art museums or being inside while in the stunningly beautiful city of Venice. However, if you love art, this really is a must see/can't miss attraction not only for Venice but for all of Italy. Its well worth a couple hours of your time. You won't be disappointed.
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