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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 19 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Nicky Swallow

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.

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Price from: £-
Minimum age: Any
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.

Bargello Museum

Florence, Tuscany, Italy

An eclectic, world-class collection of sculpture, decorative arts and Renaissance masterpieces, housed in a former fortified prison.

Best for ages: 18+ | £6

Museum of San Marco
Experience

Museum of San Marco

Florence, Tuscany, Italy

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. Along with his assistants, he decorated the Pilgrim’s Hospice, the hallways and the walls of 44 of the monks’ cells with his 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.

Best for ages: 18+ | £6

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

Uffizi + David & Accademia - Priority Tickets

Uffizi + David & Accademia - Priority Tickets

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 ...

€59 | Rating 4.28 / 5 [39 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Florence Half Day Tour with Uffizi, Michelangelo’s David and Accademia

Florence Half Day Tour with Uffizi, Michelangelo’s David and Accademia

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 Flo...

€89 | Rating 4.47 / 5 [1794 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Half-Day Uffizi and Accademia Small-Group Guided Tour

Half-Day Uffizi and Accademia Small-Group Guided Tour

Florence

* Attention Please! From 06/08/21 the entrance into the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries is only allowed with Green Pass vaccination certifica...

€105 | Rating 4.44 / 5 [18 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Discover Florence: Uffizi and Accademia Gallery with skip the line

Discover Florence: Uffizi and Accademia Gallery with skip the line

Florence

See some of Florence's art treasures during this 6-hour walking tour that starts with a guided visit of the Accademia Gallery before a strol...

€107 | Rating 4.11 / 5 [18 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

AdAstra

Florence, Tuscany, Italy

An aristocratic mansion set in a magnificent private garden, AdAstra offers 16 beautiful rooms filled with antiques, up-cycled retro pieces and quirky design touches.

Official star rating:

Hotel Continentale Florence

Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Cool, edgy Ferragamo-owned design hotel by the Ponte Vecchio in the heart of the city – the perfect base for sightseeing.

Official star rating:

Four Seasons Florence

Florence, Tuscany, Italy

A superb heritage hotel with impeccable facilities and services that occupies a frescoed Renaissance palazzo and former convent. Set in a majestic 11-acre park, 20 minutes from Florence’s historic centre.

Official star rating:

Grand Hotel Minerva

Florence, Tuscany, Italy

A centrally-located 4-star hotel with comfortable modern rooms, a rooftop pool, and rooftop bar which is an unbeatable spot for sunset cocktails.

Official star rating:

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