I have to confess. I'm not a museum person, but Florence's incredible art never fails to knock my socks off! After a research trip to Florence this summer, here are my hard earned travel tips for visiting Florence's glorious museums:
1) Make your ticket reservations online in advance.
This will save you hours of waiting in line in the heat. What's happened recently is that many people now know about making reservations...so you will be waiting in a shorter line.
*If the dates you are looking for are booked out, I recommend arriving 15-20 minutes before the museum opens. You will have just a handful of people in front of you, and you'll be inside in no time.
2) Get the 15€ combo pass for the Florence Duomo Complex.
If you are planning visiting Brunelleschi's Dome and any other museum related to the Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral), the 15€ combo pass will get you into the dome, bell tower, baptistry, underground archeological site, and the cathedral museum for 48 hours from the time you activate it. You can buy tickets online here!
3) The Accademia and Uffizi Gallery are closed on Mondays!
If you find yourself in Florence on a Monday, here are some great museums that are open on Monday.
4) Go Early!
Florence's museums get packed and stuffy. For the best experience, I always go in the morning, usually around 9 or 10am at the latest.
*If you plan on visiting Brunelleschi's dome or Giotto's bell tower, I highly highly recommend going first thing in the morning for two reasons:
1) Less people in tight spaces
2) Less heat!
*Secret tip: You can now make a time reservation inside the Cathedral Museum (Museo del Opera del Duomo) or at the Ticket Office across the street from the Baptistry in Piazza San Giovanni.
5) Read up on the history.
Just the thought of visiting a museum makes me yawn, but this summer I revisited many of the museums and churches I saw when I studied abroad in Florence, and this time it was different.
Before my trip, I read several books about the history of Florence, about the Renaissance artists and the Medici family. When I stepped into the museums this time, it wasn't just an overwhelming flood of dates and names. It was familiar, like hearing about friends and people that I knew. It was such a meaningful and powerful experience.