A recent trip to Florence’s Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David brought back the memory of a quote by Franca Falletti, Director of the Museum: “But we couldn’t bear to commercialize David.“
Well, turns out the Accademia can bear to commercialize the David, and do it to excess. In an ongoing and prolonged celebration of the 500th anniversary of its installation (2004), the museum’s gift shop has been re-vamped and re-stocked with a new collection of objects. From two large kiosks, one at the entrance and another at the exit, t-shirts, books, postcards, calendars and coffee mugs proclaimed the celebration of “David Mania.”
With more than one million tourists visiting the David each year, the Accademia certainly has the mania it wants. So much so, that after the much contested and unnecessary cleaning of 2003-2004, the museum is now planning to install what is described as a “wall of air” around the statue to protect the statue from its fans.