Florence is a small cultural metropolis that offers visitors some of the world’s top museums and art galleries. The city is a real open-air museum and is the birthplace of the Renaissance. It is no wonder why millions of tourists visit the many museums Florence has to offer, from the Uffizi Gallery and Galleria dell’Accademia to Palazzo Vecchio and Bargello Museum. With so many sites to see, so many things to do and so many delicious Tuscan foods to eat, you’ll want to make the best of your time in Florence. I’ve put together the 5 essential tips you’ll want to live by when visiting museums in Florence.
1. Research and Plan your Itinerary According
Whether you have a limited amount of time or all the time in the world in Florence, you’re going to want to plan in advance so that you can maximize your time and maximize all the wonderful sites and museums you can see and experience
2. Purchase Tickets or the Firenze Card
If you have 72 jam-packed hours to spend in Florence, I would absolutely recommend buying the Firenze Card. Think of it as a VIP pass for EVERY museum, church, or significant site that you would want to see while in Florence. With this card, you can walk straight into any of Florence’s 72 museums during a 72 hours timeframe (3 days) and it costs 72 euros (per person). Now, I understand it may sound like a hefty price to pay, but the time in which you save, that you don’t want to waste standing in lines, makes this card invaluable. You can’t put a price on saving wasted time. Trust me, there are long lines for everything worth seeing in Florence. To learn more about this card, click here.
When Matt and I were in Florence for 4 full days, we spent the first day wandering around the city center (which in my opinion is the best way to explore) and we spent the following 3 days going to all the museums we had to go see. While you’re there you’ll probably discover more museums you hadn’t heard of, but you’ll want to visit. That’s another benefit of the Firenze Card, you can just walk right in after just finding out about a museum you want to go to.
If you’re in Florence for less than 72 hours or you don’t want to shell out the 72 euros, I would suggest simply planning exactly where you want to go and booking the tickets directly with the museums. That way, you’ll still save time and only go to the specific places you absolutely know you need to go see given your allotted time.
3. Timing is EVERYTHING!
Make Sure to Go on the Best Days and At Best Times
You may or may not know by now, but some museums close their doors on Mondays and even Tuesdays. Depending on the time of year, some museums close early and some even close all together until summer! Firenze Card’s website provides a nifty list with the complete schedule all of the museums; you can check it out here.
The best times to go to museums, in my opinion, are either early in the morning or later in the afternoon, the volume of people both in line and in the museum are typically less in off-peak hours. But make sure not to go too late, because those closing times will sneak up on you.
Free First Sundays! It should also be noted that if you happen to be in Florence on the first Sunday of the month, then you can enjoy every museum for free! All museums operated by the state (which are most) offer free admission every first Sunday of the month. But proceed with caution; because the museums are all free, these days also tend to be the busiest and with the longest lines. If you don’t have much time in Florence, I recommend avoiding museums all together on these days.
4. Don’t miss out on lesser-known museums
At the top of your must-see list of museums to see in Florence should be Uffizi Gallery and Galleria dell’Accademia, without a doubt. But don’t forget to visit other museums, such as Palazzo Vecchio, Bargello Museum, Palazzo Pitti, Museo di San Marco, and Museo Galileo among many others.
The one museum you won’t be able to miss is Loggia dei Lanzi. This is the free open-air museum with several statues, located in the Piazza della Signoria, which is right next to Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi museums.
5. Guided Tours or Audio Tours
Whether you’re an art connoisseur or you know nothing about art, it’s nice to learn about the art that you’re looking at. Booking a museum guided tour or even just grabbing an audio tour device as you wander around the museum yourself, could completely change your experience at the museums.
Here are a few of my other articles about Florence: