Florence Museums, Florence (Self Guided)

Over the centuries Florence gained a huge collection of art works. Almost half of them come from the world known artists that lived here and the other half comes from the private collection of the Medici family that have ruled the city for a long time. To show their pride, the city of Florence displayed all these magnificent works of art in numerous museums and palaces. Take this tour to get familiarized with the best paintings, sculptures, drawings, frescoes in the world.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Florence Museums Map

Guide Name: Florence Museums
Guide Location: Italy » Florence (See other walking tours in Florence)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Author: greghasleft
Galleria degli Uffizi

1) Galleria degli Uffizi (must see)

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the oldest and most famous art museums of the Western world. It is housed in the Palazzo degli Uffizi first erected by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de' Medici as the offices for the Florentine magistrates — hence the name "uffizi" ("offices"). Construction was continued to Vasari's design by Alfonso Parigi and Bernardo Buontalenti and ended in 1581. Today the Uffizi is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Florence. In high season (particularly in July), waiting times can go up to 5 hours. Visitors who reserve a ticket in advance have a substantially shorter wait. Here is just a tiny selection from the world-class collection of paintings: Cimabue (Maestà), Duccio (Maestà), Leonardo da Vinci (The Annunciation, The Adoration of the Magi). The collection also contains some ancient sculptures, such as the Arrotino and the Two Wrestlers.

Why You Should Visit:
While the paintings and statues are what most people come for, the decoration of the rooms, especially the ceilings, are just as spectacular.

Consider purchasing skip-the-line tickets before going (but do this from the official website or you will pay more).
Note that you're not allowed to take in any liquids and that the restrooms are at the entrance & exit with nothing in-between.
Also, don't just pass by the cafe, as the terrace offers great views that you won't see anywhere else.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 8:15am-6:45pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Museo Galileo

2) Museo Galileo

The Museo Galileo (before 2010 known as the Institute and Museum of the History of Science) is a science museum housed inside an old palace named Castellani. It was founded in 1927 by the University of Florence. The museum is located in the Piazza dei Giudici, by the River Arno and close to the Uffizi Gallery.

The museum features many artifacts from the 15th to 19th century, mostly pioneering scientific instruments including world globes, stethoscopes, navigation instruments and telescopes with accompanying videos to the exhibits.

Operation hours: Monday, Wednesday - Sunday: 9:30 am - 6:00 pm; Tuesday: 9:30 am - 1:00 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Palazzo Vecchio

3) Palazzo Vecchio (must see)

The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence. This massive, Romanesque, crenelated fortress-palace is among the most impressive town halls of Tuscany. Although most of the Palazzo Vecchio is now a museum, it remains the symbol of local government: since 1872 it has housed the office of the mayor of Florence, and it is the seat of the City Council. At the end of the hall is situated a small side room without windows. This masterpiece, the Studiolo of Francesco I was also designed by Vasari in a manneristic style (1570-1575). The walls and the barrel vault are filled with paintings, stucco and sculptures. Most paintings are by the School of Vasari and represent the four elements: water, fire, earth and air. Private Chamber of Eleanor was one of the private rooms of Eleonora of Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de' Medici. The paintings are by the Flemish painter Jan Stradan, better known under his Italian name Stradone. Against the wall is a cabinet with Florentine mosaic designs.

Why You Should Visit:
Essential in understanding the history & culture of the city, along with the Duomo complex, Palazzo Pitti, and the major art galleries.
You'll get a crick in your neck from some of the most gorgeous ceilings, room after room.

There are various add-on tours for not much extra; e.g. the 'Secret Passages' tour which lasts about 1h½ and allows access to parts of the Palace that are closed to the public.
If you book a tour, book directly with the museum by email with your date/time preference and wait for the confirmation. You'll pay when you pick your tickets up on the day.
When you have finished the tour, you can wander at leisure around the rest of the palace.
Also: don't miss the breathtaking view of the whole city from the top of the tower.

Opening Hours:
Fri-Wed: 9am-7pm; Thu: 9am-2pm

4) Bargello (must see)

Florence is not only a paradise for architectural enthusiasts but also a haven for art lovers and the Bargello Museum is a perfect blend of both. With an exterior of a fortress, the Bargello Museum houses some of the most important pieces of Renaissance sculptures and work of art.

Located in the Palazzo del Popolo, it is one of the oldest structures in the city of Florence and dates back to 1255. Throughout history, the building has served as a fortress, a palace, a prison and most recently a museum. Initially, the structure was used as the headquarters of the Captain of the People, the Peoples Palace, after which it served as the residence of Bargello in the 16th century. Later in the 18th century, the Bargello Fortress acted as a prison up until the mid-19th century, when it was converted into a museum.

The museum is home to some of the finest Gothic decorative art, where one gets to see works of great artists like Donatello, Michelangelo, Filippo Brunelleschi, etc. Among the treasures of Renaissance artists and craftsmen, the museum also houses rare pieces of artifacts from the Byzantine, Roman and medieval era, along with beautiful jewelry right from the Renaissance period down to the Islamic period.

Why You Should Visit:
Donatello’s David was the first male nude sculpture since ancient times. You can admire this turn in art history without an overwhelming amount of visitors.
Aside from the great display of statues, the Bargello has an interesting assortment of ceramics, glass, weapons, armor, and even some amazing locks and keys!
You can take your time here, as they have some fantastic works and there's no sense of pressure that you have to 'rush through' to 'see everything.'

To better plan your visit, checking opening days and pay close attention to their hours. Try to visit at night if you can. Sometimes they are open until late at night for special occasions, and there's something very special about wandering through this medieval building when it's empty and eerie at night.
Website: http://www.bargellomusei.beniculturali.it/musei/1/bargello/

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8:15am-2pm (Nov-Mar); 8:15-5pm (Apr-Oct)
Sight description based on wikipedia
House of Dante Museum

5) House of Dante Museum (must see)

Set in the heart of medieval Florence – presently the area between the Church of Saint Martino and Piazza dei Donati – is the Casa di Dante or the House of Dante Museum. The building, though erected in the 20th century, is believed to be seated on the birthplace of one of the most cherished poets in Italian history – Dante Alighieri.

The structure that stands today was built by the architect Giuseppe Castellucci in 1911, after which the museum was opened to the public in 1994.

The museum displays some of the most important works and covers the milestones of Dante’s life. It is spread across three floors, which depict the most important phases of the poet’s life. On the first floor, you get a glimpse of Dante as a child, an adolescent and a young adult. Details about the poet's christening, his early public life, his participation in public affairs, etc. are depicted in the form of the poet’s works.

On the second floor, one can find documents related to his exile in 1301, his visits to a number of cities, and the final years that he decided to spend in Ravenna. The third and last floor showcases Dante’s vast collection of documents and the fortune he collected over the years.

Why You Should Visit:
Not Dante's original house, but you can learn about his time and about casual details of his life.

Steep stairs, but there is a lift, which is not obvious when you enter.
On the top floor, there is a miniature copy of the 'Divina Comedia' – in fact, it's the world's smallest legible copy.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-6pm
Accademia di Belle Arti

6) Accademia di Belle Arti (must see)

The Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, located on Via Rasacoli, is an art gallery whose history dates back as far as 1563. Under the advice of Giorgio Vasari, an artist and writer, the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de' Medici set up the Accademia e Compagnia delle Arti del Disegno (Arts of Drawing Academy and Company). The institution not only housed renowned artists of Cosimo’s court but also functioned as organisation for the artists of Tuscany. Accademia di Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts) was born as a result of a 1784 decree of the then Duke of Tuscany, Pietro Leopoldo, along with conservatory of music and a school for art restoration.

The Academy and its Gallery are home to some of Michelangelo’s work. A must see art gallery in Italy, Michelangelo’s David is on display here along with his unfinished Prisoners and statue of St. Matthew. The gallery also displays several paintings made by artists between the 13th and 16th centuries. These Renaissance-era paintings are works of famous artists like Uccello, Ghirlandaio, Botticelli and others. A room is dedicated to a series of polyptychs which are marvelous. The Gallery also houses plaster sculptures by artists like Bartolini, Pampaloni and Giambologna, to name a few.

Recorded in history as the first academy for drawing in Europe, this Art Academy and Gallery is a must visit for every guest of Florence.

Why You Should Visit:
Michelangelo's David is the undeniable star, but an impressive collection of medieval and renaissance art, too.
The musical section is also tremendous – strings by Casini, Amati and Stradivari, harpsichords and some rarer stuff.
Audio guides are good (for a fee) and have adults or children's version.

A good time to go during high season is on Thursdays when the Accademia is open late (after 7pm) and you don't have long lines.
Consider pre-booking otherwise. You'll have to take your online booking to a doorway just opposite and a little down the street to turn the booking into your tickets (ask the guards to direct you).

Operation Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Museo di San Marco

7) Museo di San Marco (must see)

San Marco is the name of a religious complex in Florence that comprises a church and a convent. The convent, which is now a museum, has three claims to fame. During the 15th century it was home to two famous Dominicans, the painter Fra Angelico and the preacher Girolamo Savonarola. Also housed at the convent is a famous collection of manuscripts in a library built by Michelozzo.

The present convent occupies the site where a Vallombrosan monastery existed in the 12th century, which later passed to Benedictine monks of the Silvestrine line. In 1435 the Benedictines were replaced by Dominicans from the Convent of San Domenico in Fiesole. Two years later, they appealed to Cosimo de' Medici the Elder, who lived nearby in the family palace, now known as the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, to fund the renovation of the entire complex. The works were entrusted to Michelozzo. Each cell of the monks' cloister and many other walls were decorated by Fra Angelico in collaboration with others, including Benozzo Gozzoli. Cosimo de' Medici had a cell at the convent for his personal retreat.

San Marco is famous as the seat of Girolamo Savonarola's discourses during his short spiritual rule in Florence in the late 15th century.

Why You Should Visit:
Extensive sacred art collection that leaves a lasting impression, particularly if you have an interest in the genre transition at the end of the Gothic and beginning of the Renaissance periods.

The museum is inexpensive to visit (only €4) and is covered by the Firenze Card as well.
Make sure you check out the galleries & the cells on the top floor as these can be easily missed.

Operation Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8:15am-1:15pm; Sat, Sun: 8:15am-4:15pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

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.
Historic Centre Nightlife

Historic Centre Nightlife

Well known for its beautiful historic architecture and for its huge contribution to the Renaissance movement in Italy, Florence remains a vibrant, thriving center of activity that hosts not only a large tourism trade, but also attracts a lot of international students studying abroad. As such, Florence possesses a hot nightlife scene where guests from around the world can hear some amazing music...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante Alighieri is considered one of the greatest poets of all times. He was born in Florence and spent most of his life there until he was exiled. Many of the structures in the city were built according to his greatest epic poem Divina Commedia. This tour will take you on a trip through Dante's life and work in Florence.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Novella Walking Tour

Novella Walking Tour

Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages". This city has to offer a lot of wonderful places to admire. Take this tour to walk along the Arno embankment and explore the south-eastern part of the Santa Maria Novella quarter.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 km
Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo spent over 20 years of his life in Florence during which he created some of the most beautiful masterpieces this city had ever seen. The most famous of them, the David, is also located in Florence along with a few copies. Take this tour to discover the Florence side of Michelangelo's artistic mastership.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Arno South Bank Walking Tour

Arno South Bank Walking Tour

Arno South Bank, also known as Oltrarno, what literally means "beyond the Arno", is a magical place, though not everyone knows about it. The many historical places located in this part of the city will amaze you. Take this tour to see some wonderful sites that you will never forget.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 km
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 tour to explore all the masterpieces of the Duomo quarter.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Florence's Tasty Coffee Shop Guide

Florence's Tasty Coffee Shop Guide

The caffe scene throughout Italy is an important factor of everyday life. People will pop in to their favorite bar on their way to work for a quick espresso breakfast with a pastry, they’ll grab a slice of pizza for lunch or drop by for an aperitivo before dining out and take a peaceful digestivo...
Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Unique Products to Buy in Florence

Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Unique Products to Buy in Florence

Compared to other Italian "grands" like Rome, Venice, or Milan, Florence is relatively less-known to an outsider for any local products, save, perhaps, Florentine mosaics and Fiorentina FC. Fortunately, there are tonnes of locally-originated things that this Italian city is rightfully...
Top 14 Pubs in Florence

Top 14 Pubs in Florence

Florence, the city of art and beauty has no problem in mastering the art of the nightlife as well. Local pubs are very popular and appreciated among the Florentines and the tourists. Locals and native English speakers that study or live in the city cannot wait to welcome tourists in their cozy...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Florence for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Florence has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Florence's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Florence City Pass issued by Musement and the Florence City Pass by TicketBar.

A city pass combines all or multiple Florence's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Florence hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: Strozzi Palace Hotel, Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy, Hotel Pierre.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Florence, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Florence typically costs from around US$25 up to US$90 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Florence from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the route.

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts 3 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Florence on a 2.5-hour bike tour to visit the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the city from an informative group leader.

- Enjoy a day of art and sightseeing in Florence at a great discount on the Florence Super Saver tour combining two best-selling guided tours for the price of one! Be guaranteed to skip the lines to the Accademia (hosting David) and Uffizi Galleries.

- Get yourself “under the skin” of Florence and explore the city's ghosts and curiosities at night. On this 2-hour night walk you will see the famous Florentine attractions in a different light and hear historical anecdotes and stories associated with them.

- Make the most of your time in Florence with a 3-hour guided walk to the most prominent sights of this magical city, e.g. Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, Michelangelo's David, also discovering some of its hidden gems!

- Unleash your appetite for Florentine delicacies on this 3-hour food tour replete with tasting stops throughout the city. Follow an expert guide to eat and drink like a local, treat yourself to some of the top gourmet delights this city has to offer, including rich Italian coffee and gelato, explore the San Lorenzo Market, and so much more!

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Florence, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Pisa and Lucca, Assisi and Cortona, Portovenere and the Cinque Terre, Siena, San Gimignano, or Chianti. For as little as US$50+ to US$100+ per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites including the legendary Leaning Tower of Pisa, Cortona and other towns of Tuscany, set your eyes on the small piece of paradise on Earth manifested in five little villages hanging on cliffs above the sea, learn about the life of St Francis of Assisi, enjoy the sight of a unique landscape and taste the food and wines of Italy. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight at your hotel or a designated place in Florence, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, minibus, boat or a private vehicle (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.