Galleria Degli Uffizi
For me (and many Florentines) this is the most important gallery among the museums in Florence. Here are works by the most prominent Renaissance artists. The visit begins on the second floor, where the most important and/or popular collections of the museum are located. Along the main hall, there are many Greek and Roman sculptures from the Medici collection.
Great Renaissance masterpieces
The 2 most popular rooms on this floor are those of Sandro Botticelli and Michelangelo. Botticelli’s paintings are a gift for the eyes, you cannot miss them. His most outstanding paintings are La Primavera and Nascita di Venere (The Birth of Venus). They are large, in soft colors and delicate shapes. In Michelangelo’s room, there is only one painting of him. They call it Tondo Doni, and due to its importance, is enough to fill the room.
We should not overlook other beautiful artworks and artists of the Renaissance. For example Giotto and Filippo Lippi’s works. By the way, in the room dedicated to Filippo Lippi, there is a painting that is worth noting. I mean the diptych of the Duchess and the Duke of Urbino by Piero de la Francesca.
Foreign and Venetian painting
On the ground floor, there are the halls of Spanish, German, French, Dutch and Flemish painting, from the 15th to the 18th centuries. works of painters such as Rubens, Rembrandt, Velazquez and El Greco stand out. Also here is the Leonardo da Vinci room. It seems like it was on the top floor before, although I don’t know if they moved it permanently. He does not have many works displayed and some were in restoration.
There are other Italian artists such as Andrea del Sarto, Titian and, one of my favorite painters, Caravaggio. At this point, I was already dragging my feet from tiredness. We spent about 4 or 5 hours touring the museum without hurry. Our apartment’s hostess told us that it’s the least amount of time that this museum deserves. And she was happy that we understood the importance of the museum for the Florentines.
I recommend wearing comfortable shoes and eating well before going (or take a snack, but don’t eat it at the museum!). We did not reserve and the line moved more or less fast about 40 minutes. Obviously, if you go on a flash trip then better reserve. The ticket cost €8,00 ($9.47 USD) if you buy it at the entrance.
Apparently, there will be new rates since March 1, 2018. They will assign different prices for high and low season. In the low season, the ticket will cost €12,00 ($14.21 USD) and in high season €20,00 ($23.68 USD). There will also be a combined ticket to visit the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli gardens too. It will cost €18.00 ($21,31 USD) in the low season and €38.00 ($45.00 USD) in the high season. If you book, add €4 euro ($4.75 USD) more, and if there are temporary exhibitions the price also increases. Here you can read more information.
We spent 2 hours waiting in line with an umbrella, on a rainy day (and there was not even a small roof to shelter). At least we had time to lose, but if you do not have it, book! Once inside, seeing the majestic statue of David, I realize that it had been worth the wait. Nothing like seeing a celebrity so close.
There is an extensive collection of sculptures by Lorenzo Bartolini. They had paintings from the 13th to the 16th centuries as well. Among the paintings are those of artists such as Paolo Uccello, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Fra Bartolome. Ancient musical instruments are also exhibited.
The Palazzo Pitti was the (new) home of the Medici family. It is known as Palazzo Pitti because it belonged to a banker named Lucca Pitti. Eleanor de Toledo, the wife of Cosimo I de Medici, Duke of Florence, bought it in 1549. Before, the Medici family lived in the Palazzo Vecchio.
It houses the Palatine Gallery, which is, according to me, second in importance after the Uffizi Gallery. Then you can visit The Royal Apartments and the Modern Art Gallery. There are other minor museums like The Costume Gallery, the Silver Museum, the Porcelain Museum and the Boboli Gardens.
Palatine Gallery and Royal Apartments
The Palatine Gallery is a large collection of art belonging to the Medici. There are important works by Raphael, Caravaggio, Titian, Rubens and Van Dyck. The paintings don’t have a specific order. There are some cards in each room where they state the names of the paintings and their creators.
The royal apartments are 14 sumptuous rooms where the Medici family lived. They are not very large and also contain some paintings including family portraits. They are very nice although it would have been better if they had a better lighting
The gallery of modern art has 40 rooms with a large collection of paintings. Their dates are from the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
The Treasury of the Grand Dukes
What disappointed me a little was the gallery of costumes or fashion. The exhibition was not very large, and there were only nineteenth-century dresses. I was not particularly attracted to the Porcelain Museum neither. Or was it that my feet had already got numb? It was nice, but not spectacular.
The Boboli Gardens
The Boboli Gardens, like many other spots in Florence, have become famous due to the movie and book called Inferno. They are a good place to relax, to walk and enjoy the day. There are some fountains, tree tunnels and sculptures that deserve to make a halt to take some photos.
The first thing you will notice is an amphitheater with an obelisk in the center. From there you will have to climb the stairs (Uff! It’s tiring) to admire the Fountain of Neptune. Following the path, there is a building that houses the Porcelain Museum. Also from this height, you can appreciate the landscapes of Tuscany.
Another of the palaces and/or museums in Florence that you should visit if you have time is the Palazzo Vecchio. It was the Medici’s residence since 1540 before they moved to the Palazzo Pitti. Its construction began in 1299 by the architect Arnolfo di Cambio. When he died, other artists continued with the work.
There are archaeological remains of an ancient Roman theater under the palace. They have found many artifacts now exhibited in 3 rooms which available to visit
Salone dei Cinquecento
One of the most outstanding rooms, located on the first floor of the palace is the Salone dei Cinquecento. Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo, two great artists of the time, were assigned the task to paint murals in this room. Da Vinci worked in the Battle of Anghiari painting, while Michelangelo worked in the Battle of Cascina. Unfortunately, these frescoes were never finished.
When Cosimo I de Medici moved to inhabit the palace, he commissioned the artist Giorgio Vasari to create some murals for this room. Some believe that Vasari protected the murals of Da Vinci under his own paintings as he was his admirer. Nevertheless, they have made some investigations and they didn’t find any evidence of this
Room of Lilies and Dante’s mask
The apartments of Eleanor de Toledo are on the second floor. As well as the apartments of the elements, named according to Roman deities. There is also a beautiful room called the Room of Lilies. Its walls are decorated with le Fleur de Lys which is the emblem of Florence. Here you can admire the sculpture Judith and Holofernes made in bronze by Donatello. Next to this room, there is another room where they displayed old maps.
In this palace, you can also see Dante’s famous death mask. There are recent studies that suggest that this mask was not made directly from Dante’s face. Anyway, it’s interesting to take a look.
If you want to know more about other palaces in Florence, on this site there is a list of them.
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
This museum is located right in front of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. The museum’s theme is the construction of this church. Upon entering there is a reproduction of the old facade with the original sculptures which, in the church, were replaced by replicas. Among the first important masterpieces that you will see are the original doors of the baptistery: The Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti.
You can see several machines, models and original sketches that were used in the construction of the Duomo. Among the most important works exhibited are Mary Magdalene by Donatello and Pietà Bandini by Michelangelo.
The price for the ticket to the museum is €15 euros ($17.76 USD). This also includes the entrance to the cathedral, the baptistery, the bell tower and the Duomo. I was lucky to be in Florence when the museum was reopened after several years of remodeling. The admission that day was free.
National Museum of the Bargello
The museum is inside the Bargello palace, which once functioned as a jail. Here they gathered a lot of sculptures made by Florentine masters. Among the works you can see here, are Baco with a Satyr by Michelangelo and David by Donatello. Sculptures on the sacrifice of Isaac by Brunelleschi and Ghiberti are noteworthy too
Unfortunately, I could not enter this museum, since it closes at 1:50 PM. By the time I decided to visit it, for one reason or another I did not manage to find it open. The price of the ticket is €4.00 ($4.75 USD). If you are fond of sculpture or Michelangelo, you will like this museum.
San Marco Museum
San Marcos is actually a former convent, now converted into one of the museums of Florence. Mostly you will find frescoes by Ghirlandaio, Fra Bartolome, and Fra Angelico. The latter painted frescoes in each of the convent cells.
It opens at 8:15 a.m and closes at 1:50 PM, so you have to come early. The price of the ticket is €4.00 ($4.75 USD). The last admission is one hour before closing.
If you want to know a little more about the churches that you can visit in Florence, check my post A guide to the most famous churches in Florence
Leonardo Da Vinci Museum
This museum is focused on the painter, sculptor, architect and inventor Leonardo Da Vinci. It contains 52 interactive models of the inventions made by Da Vinci. They also display reproductions of his paintings and drawings. They played on a screen, details of his studies about human anatomy too.
The ticket price is €7.00 ($8.29 USD). Actually, I was not very interested, even though I’m a Da Vinci fan. I had already visited the palace where he lived in his last days in France and had models of his inventions as well. Our hostess told us that it was a museum more intended to tourists and in her opinion, not so worth it.
This museum, contrary to the other museums in Florence on the list, is not art related. As you can deduce by the name is a museum of science or astronomy. They exhibit Scientific instruments collected by the Medici and Lorena families. You can also see the only instruments built by the scientist Galileo Galilei.
It’s inside Palazzo Castellani, an ancient palace dating from the 11th century located on the banks of the Arno River. The cost of admission is €9.00 ($10.66 USD). I also did not have the opportunity to come, but as far as I know, it is recommendable.
Well, what do you think about my list of the most recommended and popular museums in Florence? What is your favorite museum in Florence or which one would you like to visit? Leave your impressions in the comments section ⇓