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World-class art in Florence

  • Florence, Tuscany, Italy

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 27 March, 2024

With around a million paintings, frescoes and sculptures, Florence harbours the world’s densest concentration of Renaissance art (and not only), remarkable for both the sheer volume of work contained within its walls, but also for the quality; expect to see masterpieces by the likes of Giotto, Masaccio, the Lippis, Leonardo and Michelangelo.

Exactly why this ‘rebirth’ occurred in Florence is a matter for debate, but wealthy patrons such as the ruling Medicis, along with the presence of outstanding artistic talents and the 15th-century thirst for knowledge, certainly helped.

Don’t miss frescoes

The seminal 15th-century frescoes by Masolino and Masaccio in the Brancacci Chapel (Piazza del Carmine); Fra Angelico’s ethereal paintings in the convent of San Marco; Giotto’s frescoes in the Cappella dei Bardi chapel, Santa Croce; Benozzo Gozzoli’s Journey of the Magi frescoes in Palazzo Medici Riccardi; Masaccio’s Trinita fresco in Santa Maria Novella.

Who to go with: tour operators

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  • Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Many of Florence’s religious buildings were constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries, but few have remained untainted by later additions. During Renaissance times, wealthy families such as the ruling Medicis commissioned the finest artists to fresco family chapels, carve tombs for loved ones, update architectural structures and create bespoke works of art.

Step into any Florentine church today and you’ll find an extraordinary legacy of art treasures by masters such as Giotto, Masaccio, the Lippis and Michelangelo.

Good for age: 18+

  • Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Exterior of the entrance to the museum

Bucket List Experience

Accademia Gallery, Florence

Florence’s other big-name art museum (with the Uffizi) has a world-class collection of 14th- and 15th-century art, but those endless queues of people are really here to see one thing: Michelangelo’s 1504 4m-high statue of David.

Moved here in 1873 from Piazza della Signoria, the iconic sculpture appears quite different in the flesh: the head and hands are larger than expected (a trick of perspective; originally the statue was placed higher up).

Walk around the back to see David’s sling, a tree stump – and those famous buttocks.

Adult price: £10

Good for age: 18+

  • Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Bargello Museum

Bucket List Experience

Bargello Museum

This imposing 13th-century building, erstwhile prison and torture chamber, was opened as a museum in 1865 to celebrate Florence becoming capital of Italy. Today, it is to 14th- to 17th-century sculpture what the Uffizi Gallery is to Renaissance painting; it houses one of the most important collections in the city.

But it doesn’t finish there; you can also expect an eclectic and fascinating haul of the decorative arts from Islamic art to glittering Byzantine and Renaissance jewellery, ivories, textiles, ceramics  and miniature bronzes.

Adult price: £6

Good for age: 18+

Museum of San Marco

  • Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Museum of San Marco

Experience

This former Dominican monastery was home to the artist and monk Fra Angelico from 1436-1447, and he left behind an extraordinary body of work. With his assistants, he decorated the Pilgrim’s Hospice, the hallways and the walls of 44 of the monks’ cells with spiritual, ethereal images. Highlights include his Last Judgement alterpiece and, at the top of the main stairs, the celebrated ‘Annunciating’, reproduced on many a Christmas card.

Adult price: £6

Good for age: 18+

Palazzo Strozzi

  • Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Palazzo Strozzi

Experience

This 16th-century palazzo is home to one of Italy’s most innovative public art galleries. Rotating exhibitions showcase artists as diverse as Jeff Koons, Ai Wei-Wei and Bill Viola and Bronzino, Donatello and Pontormo. The ‘Strozzino’ gallery in the basement focuses on contemporary art and peripheral cultural events.

Strozzi is family-friendly with frequent activities for kids, and a good courtyard café.

Adult price: £13

Good for age: 18+

  • Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Uffizi Gallery

Bucket List Experience

Uffizi Gallery

Containing some 5,400 works, the Uffizi’s collection spans art history from ancient Greece through to 18th-century Venetian painting. But most of all, it is known as the world’s largest and most important collection of Renaissance and Mannerist art.

You could spend all day wandering the galleries, but the best bet is to pick out the works you want to see beforehand and head straight for those. The website has helpfully selected 14 must-see masterpieces and provided some useful background information on each – worth reading before you go.

Adult price: £10

Good for age: 18+

Logistics

Price from: £-
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

If you are gallery-hopping independently, to jump the lengthy queues at the main galleries, pre-book a Firenze Card. (It also includes entrance to many other major attractions in Florence over a 72-hour period). You may still have to wait a few minutes, though. If you don’t buy a Firenze Card, be sure to pre-book your visits to the Uffizi, Accademia and Brancacci Chapel or you may not get in.

There are many expert-led guides tours on offer. Aside from organising skip-the-line tickets, they’ll help you navigate the galleries, show you the greatest works that you really should see, give you the background and insight that bring the artworks to life. See our recommendations below.

When to do it

Florence in the winter is an art-lover’s dream; apart from the Uffizi Gallery, there are no queues and museums and churches are comparatively empty.

But as a rule, the earlier you visit the main attractions, the fewer visitors you will find. The hour before closing is also a good time.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • Florence

• Skip the line Unforgettable experience with genuine tour • 4-hour small group (max 10-15 people) tour of the Accademia and the Uffizi • Discover the incredible masterpieces of Renaissance art • Priority entrance to the most important museums of Florence • Walking tour through Duomo Square and Piazza della Signoria The “Florence & Global ” Touch.  See Florence the right way with us Want to see Florence with a guide but are not keen on being herded around in a large, impersonal group or spending a fortune for a private tour? Look no further. “Florence & Global ” tours are designed for the selective traveller, providing all the benefits of a private tour with the group tour value.

Price €124

Min age 0

Rating 4.66 / 5 [1917 ratings]

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  • Florence

Combine two best-selling Florence tours at a discounted price, and enjoy a half day of art and sightseeing in the city! This small-group Florence Super Saver includes skip-the-line entry to the prestigious Accademia and Uffizi galleries, two of the most famous art museums in the world. Start your morning skipping the line at the Accademia Gallery, then a walking tour around the town's historic center and finish with a visit of the immense Uffizi Gallery.

Price €119

Min age 0

Rating 4.47 / 5 [1873 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Florence

Discover the most visited museums in Florence and two of the most visited in the world, admiring the most important works to appreciate the art of the Italian Renaissance. The Uffizi Gallery with its collections of works of art, masterpieces by artists and protagonists of the Renaissance such as Michelangelo, Giotto, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci and many others. And the Galleria dell'Accademia, the second most visited museum in Florence to discover Michelangelo's David, one of the most famous Florentine symbols. The Gallery is one of the places with the highest number of sculptures by Michelangelo, besides you can admire the museum of musical instruments, the largest collection of paintings with a gold background and the Sala dei Prigioni with sculptures designed for Pope Julius II. You will enter from the priority entrance to the museum and enjoy a journey into the life of the genius of Michelangelo.

Price €74

Min age 0

Rating 4.35 / 5 [79 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Florence

Maximize your time in Florence with a combo tour to visit Florence’s must-see attractions, including the Accademia with Michelangelo's David, and the Uffizi Gallery. This 5.5 hour private guided walking and museum tour pairs you with a guide to visit the Tuscan capital and all of its most important marvels.

Price €222

Min age 0

Rating 4.94 / 5 [36 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Florence

Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Gallery are the most iconic and important art galleries in Florence. With our experienced guide, you will learn about the life and work of the legendary Michelangelo. Besides the David, unfinished works by this Renaissance master are also on display in the Gallery including the four the so-called “Slaves”, Saint Matthew, and the Palestrina Pietà.Renaissance geniuses like Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael.

Price $150

Min age 0

Rating 4.6 / 5 [35 ratings]

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