140 years ago …

A very delicate movement

Michelangelo’s David was moved between 30th July and 8th August 1873

On July 30st 1873, the long and difficult move of the David from Piazza della Signoria to the Galleria dellAccademia began, inaugurated in June 1872.

The task of coordinating and fine-tuning the transport of the marble giant, taking care of every detail, was entrusted to the architect Emilio de Fabris and the engineer Porra.

For the occasion, a particular wooden chariot was designed inside which, with no little effort, the statue of David was placed, without a pedestal. To mitigate the effect of shocks and vibrations during movement, a suspension system was prepared with sturdy steel spiral springs.

It was the engineers, technicians and workers of the workshops of the Roman Railways who created the route on rails, a mini railway where the wagon advanced slowly. To overcome the 90-degree curves of the roads, an impeller plan well known to railway operators was set up.

The “move” of the David was a colossal work and not without risks and errors. To get him down from the arengario of Palazzo Vecchio, there was no other way than to destroy the original pedestal. A real shame, but at the moment the absolute priority was to shelter the work as the process of decay, caused by long centuries of exposure to atmospheric agents, was now unsustainable.

They worked every day from 4am to 11am because it was too hot and it became difficult to work under the sun.

Finally, on August 8, David made his entrance into the Galleria dellAccademia passing through a specially opened passage in one of the walls.