Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi)#5 in Best Things To Do in Florence
Occupying the first and second floors of the U-shaped Palazzo degli Uffizi along the banks of the Arno River, the Uffizi Gallery was Europe's first modern museum, created by the Medici family at the end of the 16th century. Today, the museum is any art lover's dream: it still displays the family's prominent art collection, which includes such masterpieces as Botticelli's "Birth of Venus," Raphael's "Madonna of the Goldfinch" and Titian's "Venus of Urbino."
Because of the many works of art housed here, you're going to need to take your time. One of the best ways to see the highlights and learn about the lesser-known pieces is to take a guided tour from a third-party operator, which many recent visitors highly recommend, or rent an audio guide. Some tour operators also offer "skip-the-line" tours, which reviewers also spoke highly of. Many recent visitors also said that the main problem with this museum isn't art overload, it's the crowds. Before you visit, check out the museum's official website, where you can purchase tickets in advance and acquire additional information about the gallery's extensive art collection, showcased in more than 45 halls.
The Uffizi Gallery – which sits just a few blocks from Ponte Vecchio in central Florence – is open Tuesday through Sunday from 8:15 a.m. to 6:50 p.m. Admission is 20 euros (around $23) from March through October and 12 euros ($13.50) from November through February. To avoid wasting time waiting in line, consider paying an extra 4 euros (about $4.50) to reserve your entrance time. For more information, visit the gallery's official website.
More Best Things To Do in Florence
#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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