If you don’t have a month to spend in Florence, like we did, take a step back into the Renaissance on this Florence vacation with Great Values Vacations. It includes air, transfers, hotel and breakfast.
How to Buy Tickets for Florence’s Museums
Buy tickets ahead of timeTo visit some of Florence’s best museums, you are going to want to buy tickets ahead of time rather than standing in long lines (Accademia Gallery, Uffizi, and Opera dell Duomo). If you go in the off season as we did, you won’t need to do this.
Get family ticketsMany of the museums offer family tickets, which are less expensive than tickets for four non-EU people. If family tickets are not offered, children are usually half price or free. We found that the ticket sellers were very helpful in getting us the least expensive entry.
Firenze CardThe Firenze Card is a great deal if you want to see a lot of museums and churches in a short period of time. You do have to be dedicated to make it worth it. You have 72 hours from the first use of the card (not the purchase time) to see as many of the included 72 museums and churches. Whew! We never went to more than one place in a day, so we did not purchase the Firenze Card. La Specola is not included, but the Natural History Museum in the same building is. Buy a Firenze Card here or at one of the ten points of sale in Florence.
Where to Stay in FlorenceThere are no shortage of hotels and vacation rentals in Florence. The Continentale Firenze is a 4-star luxury hotel near the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio. It’s walking distance from all the big sites in Florence and has an elegant, clean, 50s vibe. Plus, they have family rooms. A Florence View B & B is in a 17th century palazzo overlooking the Baptistery, the Brunelleschi dome and the marble façade of the Duomo. This charming B & B has all the modern amenities, including soundproof rooms, which you will really appreciate in the middle of noisy Florence. They have both rooms and 2 and 3 bedroom apartments. The Home of the Lions Airbnb in Florence would be perfect for two people. You can’t get much better location than that.
Tips for Visiting Florence’s Museums with Kids
- Get excited ahead of time. We looked at websites, watched videos, or talked up what we would see. Understanding the significance of the David, or how amazing the architecture of Brunelleschi’s Dome was for it’s time, makes the visit more enjoyable.
- Eat and drink right before your visit. If your kids are like ours, they get hungry or thirsty 30 seconds into a food-free activity. We tried to stuff them beforehand to avoid this. It sort of worked.
- Take a break. For big museums like the Uffizi, take a break part way through. We sat on the terrace and sipped hot cocoa and ate bruschetta. Not only were we reenergized, but it was a lovely part of the experience.
- Go in the morning. Or after lunch. Find the time of day when you can get the most patience and motivation out of your kids. We seem to do best first thing, plus that’s when the museums are least crowded.
- Take a tour. We only took one tour, but we learned so much more than if we had wandered alone. In retrospect, we probably could have taken more tours, or rented the audio tours. NOTE: Make reservations for tours and audio tours ahead of time. I downloaded several free apps for the museums but did not find them very useful. Eavesdropping on other tours provided a fount of information. I also looked up individual paintings on Wikipedia and read pertinent sections to the kids.
- Don’t worry if they aren’t getting the most out of their experience. As homeschoolers, we tend to want every experience to be a learning experience. But sometimes it’s just boring. Let them lay on the couch and be bored. They are probably getting something out of it anyway.
- Make sure you don’t miss Florence’s street art when you are there!
Must See Museums in Florence
Leonardo da Vinci Museum – Museo Leonardo da VinciIn this hands-on, interactive museum, kids and their adults can learn about da Vinci and his machines. I wrote about it my Five Things to do in Florence with Kids post. Tickets: Buy at the museum or use your Firenze Card. No need for advanced tickets here.
Accademia Gallery – Galleria dell’Accademia di FirenzeThis is the home of Michelangelo’s David, as well as other sculptures by Michelangelo and a collection of Renaissance paintings. The Michelangelo statues are the show stoppers, but the room full of busts was pretty interesting. It demonstrated how Renaissance sculptors were able to create such life-like works. It’s best if you can listen in on a tour guide here. Tickets: Get them online or use your Firenze Card
La SpecolaThis is another museum I included in my Five Things to do in Florence with Kids post. It’s a funky place and a little off the beaten path — exactly why we loved it. I wish we had take the time to visit the Natural History Museum in the same building, but that’s for another visit. Tickets: Buy them at the museum. If you buy the full ticket (not the family pass), you can access the Museo Galileo at a reduced fee. No need for advanced tickets here.
Museo GalileoThe interactive exhibits on the ground floor will keep kids’ interest and we adults found the scientific instruments on the next two floors fascinating. Our kids got pretty bored here, but it may have just been timing. We visited a lot of museums! Tickets: Buy them at the museum or use your Firenze Card. If you buy the full ticket (not the family pass), you can access La Specola at a reduced fee. No need for advanced tickets here.
Il Grande Museo del DuomoThe Duomo Museum includes the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry of San Giovanni, the Crypt of Santa Reparata, and the Opera Museum. We visited all of the spaces except the crypt. Once again, we ran out of time or energy…or ended up at the bar-café drinking wine and eating potato chips. It happens. Make a trip to Brunelleschi’s Dome part of worldschooling il Duomo’s Dome. Museo dell’Opera del Duomo far surpassed our expectations. Inside it feels like a cathedral in part, an art gallery, and an archaeological dig. Most notably, we appreciated the original “Doors to Paradise” (replicas are used on the Baptistry). There are also works from Arnolfo, Ghiberti, Donatello, Luca della Robbia, Antonio Pollaiolo, Verrocchio, and Michelangelo. Tickets: Get them online or use your Firenze Card. Tickets to all the Duomo museums are good for 48 hours. The church is free, so we visited that on a separate day from what we called “Two Days of Duomo.” Climbing the bell tower and cupola are also must sees in Florence.
Galleria degli Uffizi – Uffizi GalleryThis is the big one. Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Primavera hang here. Art by da Vinci, Rafael, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and other Renaissance masters adorn the walls. The whole museum was really quite extraordinary and all four of us enjoyed it. Even the building with its painted ceilings is a piece of art. We took a break about 3/4 of the way through and had a snack on the terrace with a view of the Palazzo Vecchio. The café was a nice treat in itself. It took us three hours to get through, so you can imagine that it would be hard to fit this into a Firenze Card experience. Tickets: Get them online or use your Firenze Card.
Any museums you’d add to a must-see list?
Other Posts to Help You Plan Your Trip to Italy
- Best Books Set in Italy
- Alta Via 2 – Hiking in the Dolomites
- Things to Do in Ortisei (Val Gardena) Dolomites
- Venice Itinerary
- Best Things to Do in Sorrento
- Rome Itinerary
- Best Italian Cocktails
- Fun Facts About Italian Food and Culture
- Rent a Bike in Tuscany
- Cinque Terre with Kids
- Day Trips from Florence to Cinque Terre
- Must See Museums in Florence
- Worldschooling il Duomo’s Dome
- Things to Do in Florence Italy with Kids
- Florence Street Art
- Day Hike Near Florence: Fiesole
- First Impressions of Florence, Italy
40 thoughts on “Must See Museums in Florence”
This is fabulous. Thanks for all the information and tips!!
Glad you find it helpful! 🙂
Just loving it as usual!! Everything is so fun to follow!
So fun to have you along!!
So awesome! I didn’t know you homeschooled, we do too! Traveling is the best school there is. Mine isn’t really into museums unless she can touch stuff, but I’m sure she will be as she gets older.
Yay! Fellow homeschoolers! My kids still like interactive museums more than “stand and look,” but as they’ve gotten older, we’ve been able to get them excited about paintings and sculptures….sometimes. Watching a video or reading a book ahead of time really does help because then they have specific things to look for.
So many! Do you have a favorite or one that we cannot miss? We are hoping to go to Italy soon but probably won’t be able to spend too much time in Florence.
I think if you can only see one museum, it should be the Uffizi. Be prepared for crowds, but you will see some of the most famous art in the world. Then try to fit in the Accademia. You could go see the David and other sculptures and still be out in half an hour if you didn’t need to see the paintings.
Traveling solo, I am a marathon museum goer! When traveling with my young nieces I know they do not have much patience, so we stick to children’s museums and bring snacks.
Having little ones along does change things, doesn’t it?
We never miss a museum and it is great you are taking the kids!! What wonderful memories you are making while teaching yours to be global citizens. Way to go, mom!
As a former educator I write travel guides for mine with information broken down for them about our destination. This lets them understand what they are seeing and remember it!! After our trips I make those guides available on my website.
I fell in love with sculpture in Florence and have shared my love of it with the kids inpkscs like Rome’s Galleria Borghese. Kudos to you, mom, for showing your kids the world!!
I will have to check those guides out! I gathered sources and information as we went…and planned on doing something similar with it.
When I was in Florence I was on a tour and we only visited the Uffizi. I didn’t realize there are so many other museums in that small space. I think this calls for another visit to Italy. 🙂 Great ideas in your posts for families, I will share this with friends who have small children.
There are a ton of museums! We just scratched the surface, but you can only do so much. Thanks for sharing this!
Quiet a comprehensive list. I have got roughly a day in Florence on my next trip. How much do you think I will be able to cover? I know that is not enough time, just want to accommodate the best in this time
This is just a few of the museums! If I had a day, I would go the Uffizi first, then the Accademia, then spend the rest of the time walking around. There are so many plazas, statues, churches and bridges that are fun to see from the outside, too.
Thanks for the tips, I always like to know when I should be booking a ticket online in advance. One time I stood in line for 2 hours because I didn’t know you could book tickets in advance. I think I could definitely make the Firenze car worth it as I’m pretty accustomed to traveling to a lot of places in a short amount of time.
Yes, standing in line is a bummer! Especially when you find out you didn’t have to. You can skip the line at all the big museums in Florence.
Awesome resources. My little guy is only 3.5 and would most likely get terribly bored within minutes lol. But for sure when he gets a little older this would be great for us to do as family. Loved the video too.
Yeah, most of these museums are not for little ones. The Da Vinci museum was a good all-ages museum since it’s interactive.
I definitely have to return to Florence. I even don’t remember which museums I’ve visited. And it will be a perfect occasion to return to Cinque Terre and visit Lucca. I don’t know Lucca but it was strongly recommended by some people I met in Portovenere.
We really wanted to get to Lucca, but didn’t make it. Next time!!
I love Florence. Such a beautiful city. I too really recommend getting the The Firenze Card. It is a good investment.
Yes! If we had been up for more than one museum per day, we would have done that. It’s perfect for a short visit.
If we go to Florence or Italy, a visit to a museum would definitely be high up on our list. That must be breathtaking to see the exhibit!
It is pretty great to see some of the works of art we have all heard about.
Thankyou for such a beautiful article.. I now know something about this beautiful city. There is so much to see.
There really is a lot to see and this is just the tip of the iceberg!
Thank you for your expertise such an informative detailed article! i plan on visiting Italy i love museums so much beauty and history to be learned. Glad you enjoyed your trip
I hope you have a great time! If you love museums, you will love Florence.
Speaking from personal experience, I cannot stress enough how important it is to buy tickets ahead of time. None one wants to travel to an exotic location to just stand in line. I learned this the hard way, believe me!
After standing in line for two hours at the catacombs in Paris…. I totally agree. Unless it is the total off season, get tickets ahead of time!
Florence has so many good museums to visit! So, I agree that the Firenze card is a great deal.
As long as you can visit enough museums in the time allotted, it is a great deal — and I think most visitors to Florence can make it work to their advantage.
Glad to know that we can book tickets ahead of time! That will save a lot of stress from planning out my trip and something the kids will definitely look forward to. Great tips!
Glad it was helpful!
Thanks for the tips! I’m going to travel with my family soon (this includes all of my nieces and nephews) so these are great things to keep in mind!
Hope you have a great trip!
One day I’m going to go on a historical trip across Europe. And Italy is for sure on my list. Just watched a video on how the Rome empire could have survived.
Sounds fascinating! We love watching historical and documentary-style videos before visiting a place, too.