Florence is one of my favorite day trips from Rome. It is only 1.5 hours away by train, which means that we can be in a completely different Italian city with very little coordination or planning.
Which presents its own challenges… we sometimes cannot resist the temptation to travel to Florence on (very) short notice!
But as the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is one of the world’s most popular destinations for art and culture. The city itself is full of public spaces brimming with marble sculptures and gorgeous architecture. Wandering the streets and gardens of Florence can easily claim an entire day, but the city’s museums also house some of the most important pieces of art in the world.
My husband Jimmy is a painter, so it is literally impossible for us to visit Florence without also visiting its museums.
Which brings me back to the point: visiting Florence’s museums without going crazy from waiting in line takes a little bit of forward planning that you will thank yourself for when you breeze in past the masses.
For example, the Galleria degli Uffizi is one of the top museums in the world and has some of most important works of the Renaissance, including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, as well as works by Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio and Michelangelo. The collection’s fame literally equals long lines.
I’m serious. Do you know how many people visit the Uffizi every year?
1.9 MILLION. It is Italy’s 3rd most popular attraction after the Colosseum and Pompeii.
If you don’t want to wait in line for three hours, I suggested booking Uffizi tickets online. This will give you a reserved ticket with a specific entry time so that you can breeze past the crowds outside and get busy with the culture. Using a private company to book also comes with the added bonus of a helpline in case you have questions or want to try to move some things around. (Note that whenever there is a temporary exhibit, you also have to purchase that – it’s not optional for anyone! However, booking online will do all of this automatically so that you have the right ticket for the right day and time).
While some of the most famous pieces in the Florentine collection can be found at the Uffizi, you’ll need to book separately to see Michelangelo’s David at the Academia. Founded in the 16th century as a school of fine arts, Michelangelo was one of the earliest members the Academia. Several masterpieces hang in the halls of the old drawing school, but none more memorable than the striking white marble David. The statue is definitely the main attraction, so only small groups are allowed inside the museum at any one time. You won’t need as many hours to explore the Academia, but you don’t want to get caught in a sold-out ticket situation if you have limited time in Florence.
Jimmy loves to tell a story about traveling to Florence with his mother and visiting the David. He says that it took her breath away. She couldn’t even speak until they left the gallery! It’s on our must list for the trip we are planning to Florence next weekend!
Are there any other Florence museums that you recommend?