Hello everyone! Florence – The birth place and the heart of Europe renaissance! This is a city I’ve been dreaming of going to, as there are so many things I wanna see, mostly the artworks. Florence was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982 and it attracts 13 million tourists each year. Besides this, it has also been ranked as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Who hasn’t heard of The David by Michelangelo? Who hasn’t heard of The Birth of Venus by Botticelli? They are both here, in Florence. In this post, I’ll mostly focus on the paintings and sculptures in Uffizi Gallery, Academia Gallery and Piazza della Signoria.
For Uffizi Gallery and Academia Gallery, the most most most important thing! Make reservations either online or in the office at least one day before the day you plan to visit, especially during holidays either in summer or winter. When I went there, it’s summer, 30+ degrees, and for both galleries you need to wait in the line for at least 1.5-3 hours. Sometimes, if you’re lucky maybe you just need to wait for 1 hour to enter the Academia gallery, but for Uffizi, I don’t think it can be that short. However, When you line up for Uffizi Gallery, you can stand under the roof and it’s not that bad, but for Academia, you are just lining up on the street, under the sun. That’s really torture.
Reservations are not as expensive as you thought. The official price for reservation should be 4 Euros for each ticket (at least it’s the case in 2016). If it’s more expensive, probably some private agencies are robbing you off. I’ll tell you later about how to make reservations either online or in the ticket office.
Now I’ll introduce to you separately Uffizi Gallery, Academia Gallery and Piazza della Signoria concerning reserving tickets, suggested length of visit and what are the major works that you should not miss.
1. Uffizi Gallery
Suggested visiting time: 1.5 hours at least and if you want to rent an audio guide and slowly appreciate the artworks, it might take more than 3 hours.
First and foremost, the ticket!
As I said before, the official entrance ticket should be 8 Euros and the reservations fee is 4 Euros, so in total 12 Euros. Please click here to check the ticket availability and to reserve tickets online. However, there is 50% reduction for European Citizens aged 18 to 25 and proof of eligibility for reduced-price tickets should be presented when picking up your tickets. 50% off is only valid for entrance ticket, not for the reservation fee.
Sometimes even for free tickets you need to make reservations. However, Tickets for children under six are completely free of charge and do not need to be reserved. If you wanna check whether you’re eligible for free tickets or not please click here and then click Free on the left column.
If you don’t feel safe reserving tickets online because of the tricky websites or you didn’t have time to do so. It’s also possible to reserve tickets on site. However, remember that reserving ticket office is different from the ticket sale office. The one I went to is actually on the opposite side of the exit of Academia Gallery. Sometimes the line can also be quite long but definitely shorter than the usual ticket line. Sometimes it’s so empty that you would even notice that it’s the ticket reserving office, but after several people lining up there, the queue gets longer and longer. You can buy both tickets for Academia and Uffizi there.
The “Galleria degli Uffizi” is one of the most famous museums in the world given the rich amount of unique artworks and masterpieces conserved within its walls, the majority from the Renaissance period. The main part of the collections were left by the Medici to the state of Tuscany so that they could “adorn the State, be of utility to the Public and attract the curiosity of Foreigners. It hosts works of art by great Italian artists such as Botticelli, Giotto, Cimabue, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello, just to name a few of the most famous.
Uffizi Gallery and Vatican Museums in Rome are the most visited in Italy, which you can tell by the long lines at the entrance. If you wanna know more about the history of Uffizi Gallery please click here.
For more info such as opening hours or floor plans please click here.
- Madonna with Child and Two Angels (1465) by Filippo Lippi
- Dukes of Urbino (1465-1472) by Piero della Francesca
- The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli
- Primavera (Spring) by Sandro Botticelli
- Baptism of Christ by Leonardo da Vinci and his teacher
- The Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci
- Tondo Doni by Michelangelo
- Self Portrait by Raffaello da Urbino
- Madonna of the Goldfinch by Raffaello da Urbino
- Venus of Urbino by Titian
- Bacchus by Caravaggio
Why are these works famous and called masterpieces? If you are curious please click here to read more about the paintings, the painters and the stories of them.
If you think these are the only things worth visiting in Uffizi Gallery then you’re definitely wrong. There are of course so much more to see and for you to explore. Pay attention to the posters or signs in the corridor as the museum might change some important paintings to some other rooms and the information will be displayed there.
2. Galleria dell’Academia
Suggested visiting time: half an hour at least (if you just wanna look at David and other famous sculptures and paintings) and if you want to rent an audio guide and slowly appreciate the artworks, it might take more than 1.5 or even 2 hours.
First and foremost, the ticket!
As I said above in Uffizi Gallery, everything is the same except that the official online ticket reserving website is here. The entrance fee is the same 8 Euros and reservation fee is the same 4 Euros. The requirements for half priced tickets and free tickets are the same, so please look at the “First and foremost, the ticket!” section in “1. Uffizi Gallery”
Academia Gallery is a former hospital in the 14th century, then an Academy of Fine Arts. The main hall at the Academia offers visitors works by great Italian artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Pontormo, Andrea del Sarto, Allessando Allori and Orcagna, to name just a few of the painters. However, of course everyone knows it’s most famous for Michelangelo’s “David”. It was at first Sculpted between 1501-1504 to be an outside decoration of the Cathedral of Florence, later on, it became instead a symbol of the commitment of Florentine State to freedom and independence.
For more info such as opening hours or service please click here.
According to wikipedia, this sculpture “is a 5.17-metre marble statue of a standing male nude. The statue represents the Biblical hero David, a favoured subject in the art of Florence. Originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral, the statue was placed instead in a public square, outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence, where it was unveiled on 8 September 1504.
Because of the nature of the hero it represented, the statue soon came to symbolize the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family. The eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome. The statue was moved to the Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence, in 1873, and later replaced at the original location by a replica.”
If you wanna know moe about the David such as the history, interpretation or conservation please click here to visit the Wikipedia page.
In addition to David, don’t ignore the 4 statues of the Slaves commissioned by Pope Julius II as a decoration of his grave as well as the “Mourning over Jesus Christ” (Pieta) and “St. Matthew”.
Also, don’t forget to have a look at the left and right wing of the Tribune and go to the second floor. Academia Gallery is famous for “David” and it has more than “David”.
3. Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria is an L-shaped square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. It is an open square and is open 24 hours a day. Of course, it is also entry free. In front of the Palazzo Vecchio is the replica of Michelangelo’s David as the real one was originally placed here. Aright at this open square, it has many amazing sculptures, though some of them are copies. Most of them are in Loggia dei Lanzi, which is so popular among the locals and Michelangelo even proposed that they should be continued all around the Piazza della Signoria.
Let’s see what are the sculptures here.
- Hercules and Cacus, by Bandinelli
- Perseus With the Head of Medusa, by Benvenuto Cellini’s
- The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Giambologna
- Fountain of Neptune, by Bartolomeo Ammannati
- Medici lions, by Fancelli and Vacca
If you like renaissance, like paintings, like sculpture, trust me, these places I mentioned above are a must-go, and you definitely won’t feel disappointed. Enjoy! 🙂