Sightseeing in Florence.
Few tips on Florence.
This tip is valid in any City with major museums, but especially for Florence: if you are going to the Uffizi Gallery and the Academy, purchase the tickets in advance and online before you go, because they sell out fast and if you try to get the tickets in person, you will pass hours in line waiting to get to the ticket office.
If you pre-order them online, you only spend an hour or so, between the line for the actual ticket pick up and then the entrance...
I know it sounds crazy, but even advance ticketing takes time...
on the bottom you will find the ticket info from the official site.
If you are going to the Uffizi, I'll have to tell you where to go precisely, because when we went we meandered allover the place looking for the pre-sale ticket office, even after asking the info people twice... It's on a small side street with no signs pointing to it!
Here is the main are where the entrances to the Uffizi are:
If you ask the info booth where to get the tickets you already purchased online, they'll tell you around the corner. That means nothing because around the corner there is a looooong square with million people and no signs indicating where to pick up the tickets. The people at the entrances are too busy monitoring people in line, or just loitering, to be of any help. So, here is where the office is... Walk down the square, or courtyard, whichever you want to call it, and on the right you'll see this:
I can't guarantee those people will be there, but the statues will be. The office to pick up the tickets is indicated by the arrow. There might be a line outside the door, that is normal. Please make sure you bring the printout of the receipt or have it on your phone ready when you go in or you will get trampled by the people behind you.
This is what the entrance looks like:
From here you have to go back to the photo on top, and look for the line of the people with tickets, it's marked on the photo. You will think you are in the wrong line because it's slow and long, but trust me, the one for people without tickets is even worse! People have raised children in that line!!
Once you are in you will have to go through security, like at the airport, except you don't take your shoes off. Don't bring large bags, food or anything. They will take them from you. Drink before you go because they sell water inside at the price of gold. There is a line for the bathroom too, and I wouldn't be surprised if they charge for it!
Some people recommend taking a tour with either an audio device or a guide. If you are interested in art and want to know what you are looking at, it's a good idea. If you are not interested in art and just want to see some of the most famous artwork in the world but without much involvement, then don't get the guided tour, get the audio device so you can see things at your speed . Read about it before you travel, familiarize yourself with the museum, and know in advance what you will be looking at. You will be face to face with the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Raffaello, Giotto, Caravaggio etc... They deserve more than a cursory glance.
You will find the portrait of Martin Luther and his wife and other reformers. You will find the busts of Julius Caesar, Alexander the great, Nero and other famous people of history.
This is definitely a whole day thing.
Info on tickets and entrance and stuff:
- This is the official page for the museums in Florence. I don't know if they have an english version...
- Orario di visita (opening hours)
Da martedì a domenica: ore 8:15-18:50, entrata ogni 15 minuti. (Tuesday through Sunday: 8:15 am to 6:50 pm, entering every 15 min.)
La biglietteria chiude alle 18:05 (ticket office closes at 6:05 pm)
Le operazioni di chiusura iniziano alle 18:35 (Closing and clearing out starts at 6:35 pm)
Tutti i lunedì, 1° gennaio, Natale. (closed: every monday, Jan 1 and Christmas)
Giornate a ingresso gratuito (Free entrance days)
24 marzo (march), 26 maggio (May), 2 giugno (June), 23 giugno (June), 11 agosto (August), 6 ottobre (October), 11 ottobre (October), 31 ottobre (October), 3 novembre (November), 6 novembre(November), 1 dicembre (december)
Biglietto singolo intero: € 20 (Single, full ticket)
Biglietto singolo ridotto: € 2 (Single reduced)
Biglietto cumulativo intero: € 38 (Whoe cumulative [No idea...])
Costo della prenotazione: € 4 (reservation cost)
(So each person is 24 Euros)
Con il biglietto degli Uffizi si può accedere gratuitamente al Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Firenze fino al quinto giorno successivo alla data di emissione (With the Uffizi ticket you can access for free the National Archeological Museum of Florence up to 5 days from the date of the issuing of the ticket)
Other sites offer to sell tickets without the line waiting or with a guided tour, and depending if you want the tour or not, it might be a decent deal. But they do have audio guides and sometimes even tours run by the museum itself. Several are in English.
Do not bring large bags, backpacks or umbrellas, they will ask you to leave it at the coat check place, and then you have to go back to the beginning to get it back.
Go to the link above for more information.
Below, just few of the amazing paintings you'll see.
Botticelli's birth of Venus
Leonardo's first painting, he painted the first angel on the left.
Michelangelo's Tondo Doni
Martin Luther and his wife. I don't know the painter's name.