Palazzo Pitti#10 in Best Things To Do in Florence
If you're headed to Oltrarno for a stroll through the Bóboli Gardens, it's worth it to take some time to tour the Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace) as well. This former Renaissance residence is now home to Florence's most extensive grouping of museums. The most notable of the Pitti's galleries is the Galleria Palatina, which – with its impressive collection of works by Raphael, Titian and Rubens – is second in prestige only to the Uffizi Gallery. Other museums within the palace spotlight everything from historical fashion to household treasures once belonging to the Medici family.
Recent visitors suggested going early and blocking out several hours to see the museums and gardens, or even coming back on a second day if you can't fit it all in to one day. Many said the museum is a must-see, but it can be overwhelming to take it all in on one visit.
Sitting on the opposite end of Ponte Vecchio from central Florence, the Palazzo Pitti houses a total of six museums. The palace is open Tuesday through Sunday from 8:15 a.m. to 6:50 p.m. Ticket prices vary seasonally, but generally cost between 10 and 16 euros ($11.25 to $18). You can also purchase tickets for three consecutive days of admission to Uffizi, Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. To avoid waiting in line, consider parting with an extra 3 euros (less than $3.50) to make an entrance reservation. For more information, visit the palace's website.
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#1 Piazza della Signoria
Loggia dei Lanzi, in the Piazza della Signoria, is an open-air (and free) museum that was designed in the 14th century by Orcagna, an influential architect and artist. Below the building's curved arches are dozens of sculptures (notable ones include Giambologna's Rape of the Sabines and Cellini's Perseus), which draw crowds of tourists and locals alike. Behind it sits the Galleria degli Uffizi. The Piazza della Signoria is also filled with its (more than) fair share of sculptures, including a towering replica of Michaelangelo's David.
Take your time wandering around, and if you get tired, grab a seat along the Loggia dei Lanzi, or make your way to a cafe near the Fountain of Neptune. Recent visitors said this is a must-see spot and a great area to people-watch, view magnificent sculptures and rest travel-weary feet (though past travelers recommended avoiding the restaurants in this area, calling them "outrageously overpriced." To avoid the height of the crowds, visit in the evening. Access to the area is free 24/7.
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