The sales rush to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece

THE trouble with visiting the world’s great tourist attractions these days is that too many other people are doing the same thing.

Take our visit to Florence, for instance, where one of the must-do attractions is Michelangelo’s statue of David in the Galleria dell’Accademia.

Italy ranks fifth in the tourist countries of the world, with 47.7 million visitors recorded in 2013, behind France, the US, Spain and China. Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts about two million tourists each year. I’m not sure how many of these go to see David, but I suspect most of them because I was warned that the queue at the gallery can be at least one hour.

The answer is to Skip The Queue, an advance ticket system which tour operators and online travel sites now offer with great success.

So much success, in fact, that the queue at the side door or back door Skip The Queue entrance can now be so long that it hardly seems worth it to skip the queue in the first place.

Here’s how to beat the system.

  1. Get there early – the art gallery housing David opens at 8.30am.
  2. Research the layout of the gallery so you can go directly to where you want to go.
  3. When the doors open, run as if you are at the first day of Harrods sales.

Take it from me, it works.

And after gawping at the 5m statue of David – it is truly magnificent, by the way – you must take in the other offerings at the gallery, one of the great houses of Renaissance art.

Don’t miss the other Michelangelo statues, including the unfinished series known as the Prisoners, and an unfinished statue of Saint Matthew. There are also fabulous paintings by Botticelli, Ghirlandais and Uccello.

Of course, if you don’t want to see the original, you can always stroll to the Palazzo Vecchio and look at the David replica. It’s free. And there are no queues!

Jerry Vise

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