Five must-see museums in Florence
Florence is a cultural den for museum lovers. The capital of Tuscany offers us a plethora of incredible museums, but five of them need to be included in your itinerary. Let’s know more! Discover the 5 must-see museums in Florence. Here at Traveling to Italy you can make the trip of your dreams come true!! Also check out our Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your Vacations Section!
When we talk about Florence, the capital of the Tuscany region, we are talking about art, culture, and, of course, museums! Lots of museums, all amazing! With so many options, it is difficult to choose which one to know, but if possible, get to know them all! Rest assured, you won’t regret it! It is practically impossible to choose the best, the most beautiful, or the most complete of the museums in Florence; however, some of them are NOT to be missed! With this, we can see that, in fact, Florence breathes history. Without further ado, let’s find out which are the five must-see museums in Florence.
1) Five must-see museums in Florence: GALLERIA UFFIZI
Without a doubt, the Galleria is one of the most celebrated museums in Florence and, I dare say, one of the most incredible in all of Europe. It is, in fact, a WONDERFUL museum complex! The Uffizi Gallery was built between 1560 and 1580 by Giorgio Vasari at the request of Cosimo I de’ Medici, the first Grand Duke of Tuscany. At the time, it was erected to be an office of magistrates, judges, technicians, and merchants of Florence, and by the time of Vasari’s death in 1574, the project was still not completed. Thus, Bernardo Buontalenti and Alfonso Parigi the Elder were given the mission of finishing the building. Learn all about the Uffizi Gallery here!
The upper floor became a private gallery for the ruling family and their guests, and today the museum houses numerous historical collections. The site was only publicly opened in 1769, gaining museum status. The place has 50 rooms, and one of the most famous works exhibited there is “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli. Other works found there are by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and Caravaggio.
- Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 am to 6:50 pm. It is closed on Mondays, New Year’s Eve, May 1st, and Christmas.
- Visiting time: from two hours to one day.
- Where is it? Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6.
- 700 meters from the Uffizi Gallery, you will find the Palazzo Pitti which has the Galleria Palatina, a museum within a museum! Unmissable! Take your time to visit this wonderful place!
2) Five must-see museums in Florence: GALLERIA DELL ́ACCADEMIA
Because a classic is a classic! The Galeria dell’Accademia occupies fourteenth-century rooms that were part of the old hospital of San Matteo and the former convent of San Nicola di Cafaggio. Find out all about the Accademia Gallery here!
It all started with Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo di Lorraine, who founded the Academy of Fine Arts with a large collection for students. At the end of the eighteenth century, these rooms were renovated to house the museum that would be dedicated to Michelangelo. This is where you’ll find one of the greatest works of art in the world: Michelangelo’s David.
Michelangelo’s David was sculpted between 1501 and 1504 and was originally to be part of the exterior decoration of the Florence Cathedral. It has become a true symbol of the compromise between the Florentine state and freedom and independence; it was also a symbolic milestone for the fall of the Medici in 1494. David, Michelangelo’s masterpiece, represents energy, vigor, and courage, and his anatomy is perfect.It is said that, after making the work and finishing it, Michelangelo tapped her knee and said: “all that remains is to speak to be human!”, such is the perfection of the details. It is, in fact, impressive!
- The block of marble on which David was carved was quarried from the Fantiscritti quarry in Carrara. The block passed through several hands before reaching Michelangelo and is 5.50 meters high. Not to be missed – Learn all about Carrara here!
- Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm; It is closed on Mondays, New Year’s Eve, May 1st, and Christmas.
- Visiting time: between 1 and 2 hours.
- Where is it? Via Ricasoli, 58/60.
3) Five must-see museums in Florence: PALAZZO VECCHIO
Erected in 1299, the Florentines decided to build a palace to bring together in one place the governing bodies of the republic. The idea was to have a building that represented power. Thus, Arnolfo di Cambio, the architect of the Duomo of Florence and the church of Santa Croce, began this construction in the ruins of the ancient Palazzo dei Fanti and Palazzo dell’Esecutrice di Giustizia, in the heart of Piazza della Signoria. Learn all about Palazzo Vecchio here!
A little more about Palazzo Vecchio
Cosimo I de’ Medici ordered a general renovation and a new decoration of the palace during the sixteenth century, as he intended to live there and thus the Palace gained the present form that we can admire today. When Cosimo I de’ Medici moved his residence to the Palazzo Pitti, the Palazzo Ducale was renamed Palazzo Vecchio and served as the headquarters for government offices. To facilitate its access, Cosimo ordered the construction of a corridor that would connect the Palazzo Pitti to the administrative offices, which today is the Uffizi Gallery, and with the Palazzo Vecchio to be able to go from one place to another in comfort and privacy. The name of this hallway? Vasari Corridor.
The Vasari Corridor is a passage that crosses the Arno at the Ponte Vecchio. Along the way, there are several paintings by Italian artists from the 17th and 18th centuries. The small windows in the wall of the corridor allow you to discreetly observe people on the street while also enjoying unprecedented views of the city.
Good to know:
- Today, the Palazzo Vecchio is home to the Children’s Museum, the offices of the Town Hall, and the famous Sala del Cinquecento, which currently retains its original use and hosts audiences and special events.
- Climb the 233 steps that lead to the top of the palace tower! The view from here is panoramic and MAGNIFICENT! The view from the dome of the Duomo is IMPRESSIVE!
- Hours: Friday to Monday, from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm. It is not open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
- Visiting time: between 1 and 4 hours.
- Where is it? Piazza della Signoria.
A guided tour of Palazzo Vecchio
4) Five must-see museums in Florence: MEDICI CHAPELS
The Medici Chapels are part of the Basilica of San Lorenzo complex. Here are the tombs of 50 members of the most powerful family in the history of Florence, the Medici. Inside the Medici Chapels, you can visit Michelangelo’s New Sacristy and Buontalenti’s Chapel of the Princes. The construction of the New Sacristy began in 1521 and was designed by Michelangelo at the request of Popes Medici, Leo X, and Clement VII.
When the Medici were expelled from Florence in 1527, work was halted and only resumed in 1531, with Michelangelo working until 1534. Work came to a halt again when he was summoned to work on the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel in Rome. For this reason, the work was completed by Giorgio Vasari and Bartolomeo Ammannati. The splendid Cappella dei Principi deserves to be highlighted, which is the most elegant and luxurious of all.
- Hours: Monday to Sunday, from 8:15 am to 1:50 pm. It is not open on the second and fourth Sundays of the month; the first, third, and fifth Monday of the month; New Year’s Day; May 1st; and Christmas.
- Visiting time: between 1 and 2 hours.
- Where is it? Piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini, 6.
- Official Website: Medici Chapels
Visit to Medici Chapels
5) Five must-see museums in Florence: BARGELLO MUSEUM
This is the first Italian national museum and was established by royal decree in 1865. The Museo del Bargello houses various items from the Medici collection, pieces from convents and monasteries, and articles from private donors. The museum houses one of the largest, most beautiful and complete collections of Italian Renaissance art, as well as some gems by Donatello, Luca della Robbia and Benvenuto Cellini.
The building has three floors and it is difficult to choose the most beautiful one. The building is a medieval palace and was erected as the residence of the Captain of the People, then the Mayor of Florence, and finally the Captain of Justice. During the fourteenth century it served as a prison, and after a complete renovation, the Bargello Museum was officially born in 1865, as we said earlier.
- Hours: Monday to Sunday, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. It is not open on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month; 1st, 3rd, 5th Monday of each month; January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.
- Visiting time: approximately 2 hours.
- Where is it? Via del Proconsolo, 4.
- Official Website: Bargello Museum
Visit to the Bargello Museum
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Five must-see museums in Florence – Florence goes far beyond the Duomo and its splendid dome. Visiting the museums in Florence is a unique experience, rich in history, and unforgettable. And as we have seen, Florence presents us with fantastic culture, history, and museums. So, if possible, be sure to visit any of them, but whichever one you choose to dedicate your time to, be sure of one thing: you will fall in love!
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