Antiquities and Fine Arts Museums
The Uffizi and The Corridoio Vasariano
The Uffizi (or Galleria degli Uffizi) is one of the most important museums in the world. It is located on the first and second floors of a 16th-century building designed by Giorgio Vasari, right behind Piazza della Signoria. The Museum features an impressive collection of ancient sculptures and paintings, among which are some of the world's best-known Renaissance artists, like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio.
The Uffizi is part of the museum complex called Le Gallerie Degli Uffizi, which also includes the Corridoio Vasariano, Palazzo Pitti collections and the Boboli Garden (more to come on the last two in the “Palaces and Gardens" section).
The Corridoio Vasariano (Vasari corridor) is an elevated path that connects Palazzo Vecchio with Palazzo Pitti, passing through the Uffizi and above the Ponte Vecchio. It was built in 1565, in just nine months, by commission of Duke Cosimo I de' Medici and by the project of the same architect as the Uffizi, Giorgio Vasari.
This corridor was intended to allow the grand dukes to move freely and safely from their residences to the government palace. Even Ponte Vecchio owes its appearance to this project: the meat and fish market that used to take place on the bridge daily, was moved to avoid bad smells when the Grand Duke passed by, and it was replaced by goldsmiths' shops, which are still characteristics of Ponte Vecchio.
| To know more about the city’s history and culture, read our Florence Travel Guide.
The Galleria dell'Accademia
The museum exhibits the largest number of sculptures by Michelangelo, including the famous David. The David statue located in Piazza della Signoria - in front of Palazzo Vecchio - is, in fact, a reproduction, and the original is in the Galleria dell’Accademia.
Musei del Bargello - The Bargello and The Cappelle Medicee
The Musei del Bargello are a museum complex that includes the Bargello, the Cappelle Medicee (or Medici Chapels), Orsanmichele, Casa Martelli and Palazzo Davanzati.
The Museo Nazionale del Bargello (or Bargello) is located in Florence’s historic Palazzo del Podestà, and it houses some of the most important Renaissance sculptures, including masterpieces by Michelangelo, Donatello, Ghiberti, and Cellini. Here, you can also find a large collection of applied arts: bronzes, ceramics, waxes, enamels, medals, ivories, tapestries, seals, and textiles, some of which are from the Medici collections.
The Cappelle Medicee - Medici Chapels - are the burial place of the Medici family and are located in an area of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, even if today they have a different access to the church. The most important element of the complex is Michelangelo’s sculptural and architectural design.
Orsanmichele is a Church halfway from the Duomo and Piazza della Signoria. Today, the upper floors house a museum with the originals of the sculptural cycle of its external niches (replaced on the outside by copies), created by some of the most important masters of the Florentine Renaissance.
Palaces, Residences and Gardens
In the 16th century, this Palace was chosen by Cosimo I de’ Medici and his wife Eleanor of Toledo as the new Grand Ducal residence, and it soon became the new symbol of the Medici’s power. Today, Palazzo Pitti - alongside the Boboli Garden - is part of the Le Gallerie Degli Uffizi museum complex, divided into five museums.
The Treasury of the Grand Dukes and the Museum of Russian Icons are on the ground floor, and the Imperial and Royal Apartments and the Palatine Gallery are on the first floor, where you can find about 500 paintings chosen from the main Medici collections. It is an impressive selection, which includes paintings by Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, Caravaggio and Rubens.
On the second floor, is the Gallery of Modern Art, which houses paintings and sculptures from the end of the 18th century until the first decades of the 20th century, and the Museum of Costume and Fashion.
Giardino di Boboli
From Palazzo Pitti (and from Forte di Belvedere), you can also access the famous Giardino di Boboli. The garden welcomes over 800,000 visitors annually and is one of the world’s most important examples of Giardino all’Italiana (Italian garden). Besides the enchanting nature and architectural-landscape setting, here you will also find a collection of sculptures ranging from Roman antiquities to the 20th century.
Forte di Belvedere
Forte di Belvedere is one of Florence’s fortresses, located at the highest point of the Boboli hill. In addition to being valuable from an architectural point of view, Forte di Belvedere is one of the most panoramic points of the city and houses important contemporary art exhibitions every year.
In the Belvedere, there is also a bar with a beautiful terrace, where you can fully enjoy the view over Florence while having an aperitivo.
Palazzo Vecchio is located in Piazza della Signoria, next to Gli Uffizi and very close to Ponte Vecchio. It is the seat of the Municipality, and a masterpiece of the city's fourteenth-century civil architecture. In the Palace, you will also find works by Donatello and Michelangelo.
Contemporary Art, Fashion and Other Museums
Palazzo Strozzi is the more relevant Contemporary Art Museum in Florence, located between Piazza della Repubblica and Via Tornabuoni, the street famous for its designer shops. Over the years, Palazzo Strozzi has hosted the work of many renowned artists, like Ai Weiwei, JR, Alessandro Cattelan, Anish Kapoor, Marina Abramović and more.
Museo Gucci - Gucci Garden
Situated next to Piazza della Signoria, the Gucci Garden (or Gucci Museum) is one not to be missed for the fashion lovers. Here, you’ll find all the brand’s iconic looks, a shop with garments and gadgets, a cafè, and the Gucci Osteria, a restaurant curated by the three-starred chef Bottura.
|Enjoy Michelin-starred restaurants and want to know which ones are the best in Florence?
Read our article: 15 Restaurants in Florence You Can’t Miss.
The Anthropology and Ethnology Museum is located close to Florence’s Cathedral. It was Founded by the Italian anthropologist Paolo Mantegazza in 1869, and today, it is part of Florence’s University Museum Complex. The collection is distributed throughout 25 rooms and includes objects from many planet populations.
How to book
Of course, you can be spontaneous with your visits, but there are some museums that we recommend booking in advance. It can be hard to navigate the many websites that offer guided visits or tickets, so we have collected all the official websites where you can buy your tickets without stress in this section.
All the Gallerie degli Uffizi tickets (Uffizi, Corridoio Vasariano, Palazzo Pitti, Giardino di Boboli), can be purchased here.
For Galleria dell’Accademia, you can buy tickets from their website.
Another excellent option, especially if you are interested in visiting several spots, is the Firenze Card, which entitles you to visit permanent collections, exhibitions and other activities held in Florence museums for 72 hours. You don't need to make any reservation with the card and you can enjoy priority access. You are also entitled to use public transport free of charge.
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