A “must see” in Florence, the Uffizi Gallery is one of the largest and best-known art museums in the world and holds a collection of priceless works, particularly from the period of the Italian Renaissance. Thanks to the Medici family who eventually lost power in the 1500’s, their art collection was donated to Florence to start the museum and now we can all enjoy it!
To prepare for your trip to the Uffizi, go online well in advance and book your tickets (see my “how to” details below). Then, once you arrive and work through the entry process, you will reach the top floor where all the galleries are located. You could spend a whole day just immersing yourself in art but don’t forget to look out the windows at the end of the first corridor for great views of Florence.
We did not do a guided tour but that is an option that many people do. We listened on our mobile devices to previously downloaded Rick Steves audio guides to the Uffizi-the free option to get some history and background of what you are seeing, which is how we like to roll. We like to go at our own space and skip places too crowded for comfort. We saw all the highlights, which include paintings and sculptures by Boticelli, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Rafael and Michelangelo. The long hallway with multitudes of statues and paintings was lovely with benches along the way to sit and admire all the art.
You exit through the top floor cafeteria where you can sit on the outside patio or inside and get some refreshments. As you exit, navigate away from the crowds and take the small alleyways to find your way home. This is our favorite part of Florence. Beautiful doors, buildings, archways, and wine doors can be found wherever you look. We even had a horse and carriage travel down the small street we were on, depositing presents on the cobblestones that we had to watch out for as we strolled. Eventually, we found the bridge over the Arno near our place and off we went for Sunday lunch.
HOW-TO GUIDE TO VISITING THE UFFIZI GALLERY
BOOKING ONLINE TICKETS
To visit the Uffizi Gallery, go to their official website and pick your ticket-a single ticket to visit the gallery or a five-day pass to also visit Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. We got the five-day pass because we were in Florence for two weeks and wanted to visit all three. It was $38 euros. Online, you pick the date/time you want to visit the Uffizi (you have to do this visit first and pick up your pass ticket) and you are ready to go.
With our ticket confirmation email on our phones (no, you don’t need to print it and bring it like the online site says-they need to update that process) you go to the Uffizi and ask one of the officials at the many entrances to direct you to the appropriate place to pick up your online tickets to the Uffizi. Once there, it was easy to show the ticket booth person our email with the order number and they gave us our tickets. Now, out the door to the courtyard again and to the back of the line to get into the Uffizi during our time booked (15-minute window) and then we were climbing up and up the multitude of stairs. There may be an elevator somewhere, but you’d have to ask for access as it is not signed or suggested. Everyone went up the stairs-hope you are in good shape! When you get to the top floor (and only then) they tear off part of your ticket and you are off on your own (unless you came with a tour).