La Specola, Florence

La Specola, Florence

Editor's Note: Currently closed for refurbishment works, this museum is expected to reopen in Spring 2021.

Amidst the historical churches and architectural marvels surrounding Florence is the oldest science museums in Europe. Focused on Zoology and Natural History, it was established by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo di Lorena, who envisioned a museum that would be open to the public and purchased a block of buildings very close to the Pitti Palace to serve this purpose. The museum was inaugurated in 1775 and, up until the 19th century, was the only scientific museum in the world with open admission, opening hours, guided tours and museum curators.

Spread across 34 rooms, La Specola boasts a vast collection of fossils, natural resources, minerals, animal specimens, exotic plants, and rare books. Many exhibits in the museum date back to the 14th and 15th centuries and the Medici family, who had a passion and tradition of collecting artifacts from all over the world.

However, the museum's prized possession was, and still remains, the collection of anatomical wax models, an art form introduced by Ludovico Cigoli. The wax models were made for teaching anatomy without having to cut open a cadaver.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9:30am-4:30pm (Oct-May:); Tue-Sun: 10:30am-5:30pm (Jun-Sep)

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Florence, Italy within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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La Specola on Map

Sight Name: La Specola
Sight Location: Florence, Italy
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Florence, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

Creating your own self-guided walk in Florence is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Duomo Walking Tour

Duomo Walking Tour

Duomo quarter is located in the very heart of the Florence Historic Center. This area is deservedly considered the religious and the civic centre of the town. Most of the historic sites Florence is famous for are to be found here. Take this self-guided walk to explore all the masterpieces of the Duomo quarter.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante Alighieri was arguably the greatest – albeit also most controversial – of Italy's poets. After having served as one of the six priors governing Florence, his political activities, including the banishing of several rivals, led to his own banishment, upon which he wrote his masterpiece, “The Divine Comedy”, as a virtual wanderer, seeking protection for his family in one town...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Medici Landmarks

Medici Landmarks

The Medici family helped to establish Florence as the single most important art capital of Renaissance Europe. In order to prove wealth and power, they built numerous palaces, libraries, churches, chapels and personal residences. The Medicis were big lovers of art and they acquired huge, expensive collections, as well as supporting many sculptors and painters of the time. This self-guided tour...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Florence Introduction Walk

Florence Introduction Walk

The city of Florence was founded by Julius Caesar in 59 BC as a settlement for veteran soldiers and, as such, was built in the style of an army camp with the main streets intersecting at the present Piazza della Repubblica. The original name Fluentia was due to the fact that the city was built between two rivers. Later, the name was changed to Florentia which means “flowering” or...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Duomo Souvenir Shopping

Duomo Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Florence without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of shops and markets where you can find something unique to Florence, that you might like to purchase to remember your visit.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
Florence Palaces Walk

Florence Palaces Walk

Towards the end of the 13th century, Florentine families who had acquired power – both financial, through banking and trade, and political – began to build sizeable new palaces for themselves. The construction of the Palazzo del Popolo (now housing the Bargello museum) acted as an important catalyst in this process, having opened the translation into the private sphere. Early 14th century...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles

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