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Tips for Visiting the Uffizi Museum, Florence, Italy

Traveling has always been one of my passions. I love the excitement of seeing new places and the thrill of experiencing different cultures.

The Uffizi

The Uffizi

So you’ve decided to visit Florence and you want to see the Uffizi Museum. Certainly understandable given that the Uffizi is considered one of the premier art museums in the world, and one of the top destinations in Florence. The Uffizi ranks right up there with the Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the Vatican Museum as a worthy member on the list of the world’s top art museums.

Visiting the Uffizi can be a daunting task especially if you are visiting during the peak tourist season. Long lines and waiting for hours to get in is not my idea of how to best spend my valuable vacation time. But, for the savvy traveler there are some tips that you can utilize to make your visit a pleasant experience. Let’s take a look at some strategies to avoid the lines and spend your time actually looking at the amazing artwork in the Uffizi.

The time of year you are visiting the Uffizi will likely have an impact on how you go about your visit. If you are visiting during the winter months there is certainly much less of a chance that you will encounter long lines and crowds. But most of us go to Italy when the weather is pleasant or when the kids are out of school, and during these months you will run into big crowds here. Even during the shoulder months in early spring or during the fall you will encounter large crowds.

The first thing to consider when thinking about a visit to the Uffizi is to come up with a rough estimate of how much time you will want to spend in the museum. The Uffizi is very large and contains thousands of unique pieces by some of the greatest Italian Renaissance artists including Raffaello, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Giotto. You could spend all day in the Uffizi if you so desire but be prepared for a long and tiring day if you do. If you plan on an entire day just be sure to get there very early. Most visitors plan on spending somewhere between two to four hours in the museum and this will give you time to see many of the highlights and must see rooms.

Visitor Information

Another thing to seriously consider when planning a visit to the Uffizi is that you will likely need to purchase or reserve your tickets ahead of time if you want to avoid the long lines. Unless you are visiting in the off-season you do not want to risk losing valuable time waiting in a line.

Hours:

  • Open Tuesday - Sunday: 8:15 am to 6:60 pm
  • Closed New Years Day, Christmas, May 1, and every Monday

Tickets:

March 1 - October 31:

  • Adults 20 euro
  • EU citizens age 18 to 25: 18 euro
  • Children under age 18: Free
  • Teachers and university students: Free

November 1 - February 28:

  • Adults 12 euro
  • EU citizens age 18 to 25: 10 euro
  • Children under age 18: Free
  • Teachers and university students: Free
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There is a 4 euro online booking fee.

You can purchase your tickets online or you can call the Uffizi reservation office directly to reserve a day and time (011-39-055-294-883). We did this a few months prior to our visit. You will have to pick a day and an entry time slot, which is every 15 minutes between the opening and closing time. If the time slot is available you can purchase your tickets and you will receive a confirmation e-mail, which you will bring with you to the ticket office on the day of your visit. Be sure to arrive at least 10 minutes prior to your entry time.

Botticelli's Birth of Venus

One of the key strategies to take away from our experience is to try to plan your visit for the late afternoon to early evening. It seems as though everyone wants to get to the Uffizi early and thus the long lines form quickly and the museum gets very crowded. By late in the day you have a much better chance of encountering smaller crowds.

If you insist on visiting in the morning and can manage to get a reservation for the 8:15 am slot this may also work as it usually takes a good 30 minutes for the masses to file in. If you can get yourself into the museum right when they open with your reservation you may have 30 to 60 minutes where the museum has not filled up yet. I have not personally tried this one yet, but it does take those folks waiting in line some time to go through security and get themselves into the museum so it just might work.

The Uffizi from across the Arno River

The Uffizi from across the Arno River

Please be advised when visiting the Uffizi that photographs are not allowed in the museum. You also cannot take any liquids into the museum with you, which is a precautionary security measure. There is a café in the museum and you can purchase food, water and drinks there if you like.

Because the Uffizi houses so many pieces of artwork it's probably a good idea to rent an audio guide, about 6 euro, or hire a tour guide to take you through the museum. A guided tour can run you about 40 to 60 euro, which includes the entry fee so this may be an option for you depending on your budget. Another option is to download the Rick Steves Uffizi guide.

Having a tour guide take you through the museum can certainly save you time in identifying pieces of artwork and finding your way around the maze of rooms in the museum. If you are schooled in art and know your stuff perhaps you can guide yourself through the museum otherwise consider one of these options.

Enjoy your visit to the Uffizi. No stay in Florence would be complete without touring this world class museum. Even if you are not a true art lover I think you will be impressed with the collection of masterpieces housed here. Enjoy your visit.

Ciao for now.

The Uffizi is located close to the famous Ponte Vecchio Bridge

Questions & Answers

Question: Could you define “late afternoon?” Since the Uffizi museum closes at 6:30, and we would need 3-4 hours for the visit, is 2:00 late enough?

Answer: I think so. I would plan how long you want to spend in the museum and just work back from the closing time, which is exactly what you did. You can probably get an extra 15 minutes until 6:45 pm before you get booted out of the museum.

Question: Do you have similar advice on visiting the Galleria dell'Accademia?

Answer: A lot of the tips for visiting the Uffizi will also apply to visiting the Galleria dell’Accademia. The most important tip I can give is to buy your tickets in advance to avoid the long lines. The Accademia is not as large as the Uffizi so it may not take as long to tour, however, you should still plan your visit in advance as much as possible.

© 2013 Bill De Giulio

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