Florence is all about the art. A place where museums compete for your attention at every turn. But where do you go first? And what should you see when you’re inside? Here we give you a quick and easy guide to what museums you should hit when you’re in town.
Top 10 Florence Art Museums – A quick guide for art lovers
1. UFFIZI GALLERY
With over 2 millions visitors per year, the Uffizi gallery is the celebrity of Florence’s art museums. An elegant building off Piazza Signoria, with a famous loggia and gorgeous views of the river Arno, the Uffizi hosts the biggest collection of Italian Renaissance art in the world. Starting from Giotto and the Early Renaissance, visitors can see how Italian art developed, with masters like Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli and Titian leading the way. It’s an unforgettable experience, that deserves a few hours and a guided tour with an art expert to make it truly enjoyable. See the highlights of the Uffizi Gallery.
WHERE & WHEN: Piazzale degli Uffizi, adjacent to Piazza Signoria, in Florence’s historic centre. It’s open from 8:15am to 6:50pm, closed on Monday.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? 12 Euro in low season (Nov. to Feb.), 20 Euro in high season – You can book on the Uffizi official site.
NEARBY ATTRACTIONS: Piazza Signoria & Loggia del Lanzi, Ponte Vecchio
TIP: Join this Guided Small Group Tour with an art expert to skip the queue and better appreciate and enjoy this vast and fascinating gallery.
2. THE ACCADEMIA GALLERY
Florence’s other big draw for art lovers is the Galleria dell’Accademia which guards one of the most famous and beloved statues of all time: the inspiring Statue of David by Michelangelo. This huge marble figure (4 meters tall) towers above the visitors, with his profound expression and timeless grace. There are also some other works by Michelangelo – the unfinished and deeply moving “Slaves” – and some 15th and 16th century Florentine paintings.
WHERE & WHEN: Via Ricasoli, 58, between the Duomo and Piazza San Marco. Open from 8:15am to 6:50pm, closed on Monday.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? 16 Euro – You can book on the official site.
TIP: You can combine a Walking Tour of Florence with a Guided Tour of the Accademia Gallery. Good value for money!
3. OPERA DEL DUOMO MUSEUM
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, one of Florence’s symbols and an example of Humanist genius, merits its own museum. And the Opera del Duomo Museum is just that, celebrating its story, architectural wonders, including a full-scale reproduction of what the original facade was supposed to look like, and the much-admired Gates of Paradise of Florence’s Baptistery.
WHERE & WHEN: Piazza del Duomo, 9 (Cathedral Square) – open: weekdays from 9am to 7:30pm, on Sunday from 9am to 1:3-pm.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? To visit the museum you need to buy the Combined Ticket that includes the climb to Brunelleschi’s Dome, entrance to the Baptistery, Giotto’s Tower, the crypt of Santa Reparata. The ticket costs 18 Euro and is valid 72 hours from the first access.
TIP: The entrance to the Cathedral is free. Reservation is mandatory for the climb to the Dome => see official site.
4. PALAZZO VECCHIO
The Palazzo Vecchio is one of our personal favourites. Known as the ‘Old Palace’ it’s the town hall and has been the seat of the government for centuries. When Cosimo de’ Medici took power as Grand Duke he moved into the palace and had it completely restored to suit his taste. Beautifully decorated rooms tell the story of the Medici family and of the city that made their fortune.
WHERE & WHEN: Palazzo Vecchio is in Piazza Signoria – open every day from 9am to 7pm, expect on Thursday from 9am to 2pm.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Entrance ticket costs 12,50 Euro.
5. PITTI PALACE GALLERIES
The vast Palazzo Pitti hosts art museums for every taste. The main one is the Palatine Gallery (dedicated to paintings, mainly Renaissance and Baroque). Then there’s the Modern Art Gallery (the name is slightly misleading, because it has paintings from 18th to early 20th century). Or you can visit the Royal Apartments, the Museum of Costume, and the Gran Dukes treasury (silver, cameos, works in semiprecious gemstones).
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? You need to buy a combined ticket for all the galleries of Pitti Palace, price: 16 Euro.
6. BARGELLO MUSEUM
A real Mecca for anyone who loves sculpture. The Bargello is a beautiful Medieval building, with an eye-catching courtyard that leads you to the discovery of the finest sculptures created by Florence’s artists. Highlights include: Michelangelo, Donatello, Giambologna. Plus a collection of applied arts, silverware to ceramic. Not to be missed.
WHERE & WHEN: The Bargello is in Via del Proconsolo, 4, near the Badia Fiorentina Church, behind Piazza Signoria. Open Tuesday to Sunday 8:15am – 2pm, closed on Monday and on the 2th and 4th Sunday of the month.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? 8 Euro.
7. MEDICI CHAPELS
One of the most beloved art museums in Florence, due to its connection with the Medici family and the creative genius of Michelangelo, the Medici Chapels are an annex of San Lorenzo Church, but the entrance is separate and leads to the burial places of many members of the Medici family. The extravagantly decorated Prince Chapel, is a feast of multi-coloured inlaid marble, and there is the New Sacristy designed by Michelangelo.
OPENING TIME & PRICE: The Medici Chapels are open from Tuesday to Sunday, 8:15am – 2pm, close on Monday and the 2th and 4th Sunday of the month. Ticket costs 9 Euro.
8. SAN MARCO MUSEUM
San Marco is a former monastery whose cells have been frescoed by the early Renaissance friar-painter Fra’ Angelico. You find intimate frescoes by the master and his pupils, with scenes of the life of Christ. The famous Annunciation is here, and the room occupied by the friar Savonarola before being burnt alive. Expect: plenty of atmosphere, sacred art, a glimpse into Florentine history. One of the most atmospheric art museums in Florence.
WHERE & WHEN: It’s in Piazza San Marco, a bit off the main tourist trail. Open from Monday to Friday 8:15am – 1:5-pm – Saturday, Sunday: 8.15am – 4:50pm. Closed on 1st, 3rd, 5th Sunday of the month, and 2nd, 4th Monday of the month.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? 8 Euro.
9. INNOCENTI MUSEUM
Recently reopened after being totally refurbished, this former orphanage offers a glimpse into a darker and less grand side of Florentine history. It guards the stories of the children who were abandoned here since 1445. You’ll learn their moving stories and see some memorial objects. Includes 80 works of Renaissance art. It’s in Piazza SS Annunziata, and the building was designed by Brunelleschi, no less.
OPENING TIME & PRICE: From 1st April to 31th October: 10am to 7pm, every day except Tuesday – From 1st November to 31st March: 11am to 6 pm, every day except Tuesday. Ticket costs 9 Euro and includes very informative audio-guides. Check the guided tours offered by the museum on the official site
TIP: After a visit to the museum, head for the bar upstairs. It’s under a 15th century loggia and there’s a great view of the Duomo!
10. MARINO MARINI MUSEUM
Want to see some contemporary art in Florence? Your best bet is the Marino Marini Museum, that celebrates the work of this sculptor born in the town of Pistoia in 1901. He’s considered one of Italy’s most interesting figures of this century. From his first solo exhibition in 1931, to his extensive body of work in the 70’s and 80’s, Marini explored ancient figurative traditions – from the Etruscan to Medieval sculptures – to try and understand what it means to be human. His most famous creations are a series of knights and horses and the Pomone, symbol of fertility
WHERE & WHEN: The Marini museum is hosted in the former Church of San Pancrazio, in Piazza San Pancrazio not far from Santa Maria Novella Square – Open on Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10am to 7pm – the museum is free, you pay to visit the temporary exhibitions – see official site.
TIP: If you’re interested in contemporary art, check out the temporary exhibits at Palazzo Strozzi.
NOTE => Prices refer to 2019.