Florence is always a highlight on most travelers itinerary, but the last thing you want to do in this wonderful city is waste time trying to get into the museums. I am going to show you how to skip the lines in Florence (unless you like to wait for hours)
There are several ways to do this, from hiring a private guide to getting reservations ahead of time.
Make Museum Reservations Ahead of Time
This is an excellent system that allows you to skip the long lines and saves you hours. For those of you that know exactly when you want to see the museum, you can call months ahead of time. If you are not sure of your schedule, you can call up to the day ahead of time. Word of warning, during peak travel season the reservation times can get booked out quickly. You are wise to give yourself at least a week, but even then the times can be limited.
Which museums in Florence have a reservation system
Reservations are available for the following sites: Uffizi, Academia, Bargello, Medici Chapels and the Pitti Palace.
The Uffuzi and Academia ALWAYS have long lines, the others are not as important to reserve for. Each museum has an area that is for reservations which is separate from the main non-reservation holder line. You will be directed to the area where you can pick up and pay for your tickets. The process will be slightly different at each location. Look for the signs as they are well marked.
Travel Tip: If there is no line, or the lines are short, skip the reservations and get your tickets directly from the museum. This will save you from paying the 4€ reservation fee.
Calling for Museum Reservations
From the US dial 011-39-055-294-883. I use Skype for all of my calls.
If you are in Italy call 055-294-883.
They have streamlined the process and after a few prompts, an English speaking operator will help you. They will give you a reservation number for each museum, you pay nothing at this time and there is no cancellation fee. Do NOT lose this number.
Travel Tip: Make sure you have the dates and times that you want to visit AND have a pen and paper ready. The operators are swift and often impatient.
On arrival at the museum for your reservation time, you will pick up your tickets at a specific location (each museum is different) and will be charged an additional €4/ticket as your booking fee.
Have Your Hotel Book for You
Many hotels will book your reservations for you, some of the bigger hotels add a charge to do this. Double check ahead of time.
Book Museum Reservations Online
You can book your tickets on-line directly with the museums. The only drawback to this is that the tickets and the reservation fees are charged on the spot and not refundable.
Hire a Private Guide or Join a Group Tour
Hiring a private guide is a great way to see the museums and Florence at your own pace. Most guides charge by the hour and have a minimum length of three hours. My favorite guide Cristina does an excellent job tailoring her tours to all interest levels and attention spans. For less money, you can join a group tour instead. I like using Artviva, they have a ton of tour choices.
Either choice you make, entrance to the museums will be handled by the guides.
The Firenze Card
The Firenze Card costs €72 per person and is meant for travelers with more money than time, it takes effort to see enough sites to break even. The biggest benefit to this over simple reservations is the skip the line to climb the Duomo. The line here during peak season can be extremely long. You have 3 consecutive days to use this card, so make sure you aren’t trying to sight-see on a Monday when most museums are closed.
Travel Tip: If you are in Florence for an extended amount of time, consider the Firenze card. If you are only in Florence for two days, use the reservation system and get a 15€ combo-ticket if climbing the Duomo is on the top of the list.
Where to Buy the Firenze Card
Below you can find the list of museum ticket offices and tourist information centers where you can buy the card. You can also grab these at the TI within the airport and train station as you arrive. Purchase them at a smaller museum or location, don’t try and buy them at the Uffizi as that defeats the whole purpose of skipping the line.
- Cappella Brancacci – piazza del Carmine 14
- Complesso di Santa Maria Novella – piazza Stazione 4
- Galleria degli Uffizi – Porta 2 – piazzale degli Uffizi
- Museo di Palazzo Vecchio – piazza Signoria
- Museo Nazionale del Bargello – via del Proconsolo 4
- Museo Stefano Bardini – via dei Renai 37
- Palazzo Pitti – piazza Pitti 1
- Palazzo Strozzi – piazza Strozzi
- InfoPoint Turistico Stazione – piazza Stazione 4
- InfoPoint Turistico Cavour – via Cavour 1r
Regardless of which method you use, make sure you have planned ahead so that you can maximize your time in Florence.
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