Categories: Travel

5 Museums You Have To Visit In Florence

There are so many museums in Florence that deserve a visit on your next trip to the Renaissance City. One of the reasons I fell in love with Florence when I studied there was that there is always something new (or old) to discover! The museums in Florence truly leave nothing to be desired, they could please anyone who even remotely appreciates art and history. Keep in mind that Florence’s museums are free the first Sunday of every month, and additional days throughout the year. There are also three-day museum passes you can purchase that will allow entry into various museums throughout the city.

1. Palazzo Vecchio

Florence’s town hall, home to some of the most intricate and intriguing rooms in Florence, including a map room with a secret passageway. You will probably stumble upon Palazzo Vecchio on the first day you explore the city. It’s hard to miss! Located in Piazza Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio has been used for centuries as the seat of government in Florence. The decadence inside is beautiful, but it’s easy to admire the outside too. There’s a copy of Michelangelo’s David right outside the main door, and a loggia with some very famous sculptures just across the square.

You can tour Palazzo Vecchio, and its tower can also be climbed, for another perspective on the city. The Medici, once the leading family of Florence, lived here for a time too. Eleanora Medici even had a discrete small window from which she spied into the large ballroom, during meetings she wasn’t allowed to attend (so Princess Diaries of her).

2. Uffizi Galleries

The Uffizi Galleries are an obvious stop when considering museums in Florence, as it’s one of the best art museums in the world. Give yourself plenty of time to look around, as you’ll be mesmerized by the medieval and Renaissance masterpieces. The gallery is doable in around two hours but it’s better to take your time. If you’re looking for a more informed visit, consider booking a tour. Tour guides can give you much better insight into what you’re looking at, so if you don’t know much about art or are curious, that’s the best way to go!

Some of my favorite paintings are housed in the Uffizi, like Botticelli’s breathtaking Primavera. The Birth of Venus is located just across from it, and both draw a lot of attention from guests. They are beautiful to behold, and so large in scale. Another favorite is the domed room with the ceiling made of inlaid shells. Like I said, you’ll be mesmerized by the masterpieces here, and definitely deserve an espresso after all of your hard work. 

3. Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens

This property is amazing inside and outside. Take a trip to the other side of the river, called the Oltrarno, and you’ll quickly happen upon Piazza Pitti and the imposing palace that the Medici’s once called home. You might have noticed, if you crossed the famous Ponte Vecchio, that there’s a secret passageway that connects the Palazzo Vecchio with Palazzo Pitti. It’s called the Vasari Corridor and was created by the Medici so that they could walk freely between the buildings, and wouldn’t have to walk on the streets below.

Once you walk inside Palazzo Pitti, you will recognize the absolute opulence that the Medici lived in. This palace has some of my favorite rooms, like the green sitting room and the ballroom which I am dying to dance in! The attached gardens are incredibly magnificent, with the ornate grotto ruling over them, and they offer an unparalleled view of the duomo. They are formally known as the Boboli Gardens, and you will definitely want to get lost strolling through them, as if you were actually existing a few centuries ago.

4. Accademia Gallery

The Accademia Gallery, as is widely known, is not the most exciting of museums in Florence. But, it’s a required visit on any trip to Florence because it houses Michelangelo’s David. That’s about it! You might think, I could probably skip that. But I’m telling you, don’t! The statue of David is one of the most beautiful sculptures I have ever seen in my life, and it totally lives up to the hype. You will be shocked at how large and lifelike it is, and the incredibly details. It’s easy to see why Michelangelo is considered a genius. 

One of my favorite things about this museum, too, is that the path lining the hallway in front of David is full of Michelangelo’s unfinished work. It gives you a look at how the artist created, which feels so rare and special. You can see how he started to create something beautiful out of rough pieces of marble. Be prepared to wait in line for the Accademia, or schedule a tour with a designated time, especially during high tourist season.

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5. Duomo Museum

Another one of the museums in Florence you must visit. The Duomo has one ticket for everything, including the museum and both the bell tower and the dome. Reserve your time to climb the bell tower or the dome right away when you buy the ticket (keep in mind that sunset is a nice time to climb, it takes about 20 minutes or so to get to the top). You can explore the museum in your leisure time, and see Ghiberti’s real gilded bronze doors created for the baptistry, called the Gates of Paradise. The detail is incredible! I also love the models of the cathedral and the dome that are housed in the museum, which is located right across from the duomo. 

Climbing to the top of the dome is definitely not for anyone who is claustrophobic, as you’ll be walking up a narrow staircase, then between the two layers of Brunelleschi’s dome. If you are worried, I recommend starting with the bell tower on day one because there is an opportunity to stop and get fresh air as you go up. The interior of the cathedral is always free and open to the public, except during mass time.

Other museums I encourage you to visit in Florence, if you have the time, are: Orsanmichele, Gucci Garden, Palazzo Strozzi, L’Ospedale degli Innocenti, Bargello Museum, and the Stibbert Museum.

What are your favorite museums in Florence? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured Image Source:
Images via The Artful Everyday.
Margaret Johnson

Maggie is the blogger behind The Artful Everyday, a travel and lifestyle blog dedicated to living intentionally and finding beauty in the ordinary. She loves the idea that we get to escape our normal lives when we travel, and that it allows us to be more open to the world and its cultures. Maggie lived in Florence while studying abroad, then was an au pair in Rome last fall. She is very passionate about traveling in Europe, especially Italy, and living abroad. Maggie studied Interior Design at the University of Minnesota, but is currently pursuing a career in writing.

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