The Uffizi Gallery is perhaps one of the most impressive museums of the Western world. It’s certainly the one with the greatest concentration of famous paintings. Literally, in every room, there is a masterpiece. Visiting this museum is, for many visitors to Florence, a life goal, but not all come out as satisfied as they might be. That’s because, although the works of art themselves are stunning, the museum’s logistics and labeling leave much to be desired. But fear not, we’re here to help: we’ve thought of answers to all the FAQs for a perfect visit to the Uffizi Gallery.
When should I visit the Uffizi Gallery?
The answer depends, in part, on the time of year, and of course on what days of the week you will be in town. The museum is open from 8:15am to 6:50pm every day except Monday, the traditional closure day of Italian state museums (of which this is part). The busiest days are Saturdays and Sundays due to the weekend city-break visitors. Of weekdays, Tuesday is a bit more crowded than the other days because of people who were in town on Monday but the museum was closed. Thursdays are the least busy days. In terms of time, if you’re a morning person, booking a ticket for as soon as the museum opens is not a bad idea. But lots of other people also think this way, so you can find yourself waiting in line anyway. Another wise idea is to go in around 4pm. At this time, the lines have thinned out and you might find yourself quite alone just before closing time.
Do I need to book entry tickets in advance?
Yes, absolutely. There are plenty of companies and platforms that sell Uffizi tickets, but it is advisable to only book through the official platform (linked on the museum’s website), where there are no additional costs beyond the pre-booking fee. If you do not have booked tickets, you’ll have to stand in a very long line up, which is just a frustrating waste of time.
What is there to see at the Uffizi?
The Uffizi Gallery is a prestigious collection of mostly Florentine Renaissance art. The collection goes from a small room dedicated to the 13th century, to the beginning of naturalism in the “Giotto room”; moves on to the greatest works of the 15th century in Florence and the High Renaissance in Florence. There is a small but excellent collection of paintings from Venice and a few works from Northern Italy and Northern Europe. There are also Roman sculptures. Many are works you’ll recognize from pop culture, like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, Leonardo’s Annunciation, Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo. If you have had the pleasure of studying art history, you might recognize the Madonna in one of the first rooms, by Giotto, considered one of the first works that show naturalism and put into comparison with similar painting by Cimabue and Duccio. But there is so much more to see here. Pontormo, Raphael, Gentile da Fabriano, Paolo Uccello, Masaccio, Filippo Lippi, Cranach, Durer…
Should I take a tour?
If what’s written above already baffles you, probably you should! A certified guide can take you through the museum, stopping at the highlights and making the visit last a set amount of time. This is a huge bonus if you tend to be overwhelmed in museums. It’ll be more of a learning experience. It’s worth the investment to take a private or very small group tour, so that you don’t feel herded around. But if tours aren’t for you, consider purchasing a guidebook before your visit – on amazon.com there are a few options that will help you spot the highlights and give you the liberty of guiding yourself through the space… without getting exhausted.
What other tips do you have to make my visit great?
It’s important to keep in mind that any large museum involves a lot of time on your feet. Between standing in line and walking through the museum, not to mention stopping to admire the paintings, you are going to be on your feet for at least four hours. Another unfortunate thing in this museum is that there are not many places to sit – there are a few benches in the main corridor. So wearing soft running shoes is a must, no matter what they look like! Be aware also that you’ll be asked to go through a metal detector when arriving at the museum, and umbrellas must be checked. Avoid bringing backpacks or large bags, which you might be asked to store – or if not, you’ll have to carry around.