8 of the Best Galleries and Museums in Florence
We all seek something different from our travel experiences, but if you find your wanderlust calling you to Fine Art, exquisite architecture and European history, then venturing to Florence, in the heart of Italy, would see you amply satisfied.
With architechture such as the Florence Duomo Cathedral, the cityscape of Florence is an expansive and intriguing museum in its own right. A renaissance city with an ambience that oozes sophisticated Italian culture. The museums of Florence cover all manner of subjects; history, politics, astronomy and more. Each with a wealth of artefacts, exhibits and displays to explore.
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Some of the best museums in Florence attract large crowds daily, so to skip the queue and save yourself valuable time and money click here to purchase a skip the line ticket.
Our collection of the best galleries and museums in Florence are all within walking distance of each other so put some comfortable footwear on and get exploring.
The Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery comes highly recommended by all who visit Florence and for good reason. As one of the most famous galleries in the world, Uffizi proudly houses the works of master artists like Raphael, Botticelli and Caravaggio. No trip to the Uffizi would be complete without taking the time to observe and appreciate the craftsmanship of Michelangelo, namely Tondo Doni and the Holy Family.
Originally constructed as judiciary offices, the gallery building is a masterpiece all of its own. Throughout your time at the Uffizi Gallery, you will gain some great insight into the renaissance period and be mesmerised by the intricate details features on canvas.
Art comes in many different forms, sculpture, photography and fashion to name but a few. Gucci is dedicated change makers in the world of fashion and have been pushing boundaries and redefining the norm since Guccio Gucci created the brand, in Florence, in 1921.
The Gucci Museum guides you through the expressive evolution of design and fashion pioneered by this world famous fashion house over the last nine decades. For some, the museum is a welcomed break from the renaissance art that so abundantly fills many of Florence’s galleries.
After you have walked the halls of the Gucci Museum, one of the most popular museums in Florence, be sure to treat yourself to a bite to eat in the swanky Gucci Restaurant adjacent to the main building.
Ospedale degli Innocenti
Recently renovated, the Ospedale degli Innocenti is one of the most architecturally significant of the Florence museums. The name in Italian ‘Ospedale degli Innocenti’ translates to the Hospital of the Innocents and before it was transformed into a museum was an orphanage managed by the priests and nuns of the city.
The Ospedale degli Innocenti spreads both inside and out making for a more varied experience; featuring frescos, artefacts of old and paintings too. The museum is steeped in history. Located in the very centre of the city, the Ospedale degli Innocenti is easy to find and access.
If you found yourself falling in love with Michelangelo’s work at the Uffizi then the Galleria dell’Accademia should certainly be your next port of call.
The Galleria dell’Accademia is home to Michelangelo’s infamous ‘David’ sculpture; it is humbling to be in the presence of such art history and you will find yourself surrounded by fellow admirers observing in quiet and in awe of this great work. The gallery is one of the quieter museums in Florence which makes a visit all the more enjoyable.
The gallery’s most recent exhibition is the Museum of Musical Instruments which displays bespoke and tailor made masterpieces by esteemed musicians like Bartolomeo Cristofori.
Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy
One of the city’s best-kept secrets and one of the more obscure museums in Florence, the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy is a sensory exploration that will leave you spellbound. Proud to be the oldest pharmacy in the world, they are held in high regard by the people of Florence and still dispense medicine to this day.
There is a small museum within the grand, high ceilinged pharmacy building, however, the hours are somewhat irregular. Nevertheless, visiting the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy is a worthwhile experience, inside the building you will be greeted with walnut wood furniture, ornate bronze statues and breathtaking stain glass windows.
Recognised as the first established museum in Florence and one of the first to be created in all of Italy, the Bargello Museum opened in 1865. Primarily dedicated to sculpture, the gallery is filled to the rafters with famous statues, busts and artistic creations from the Renaissance period.
The Bargello Museum is another gallery that hosts the work of Michelangelo as well as other influential artists like Donatello and Giambologna. Originally the city hall building and subsequently a prison, the Bargello Museum found its form after the long ruling Medici family utilised it as police headquarters.
Salvatore Ferragamo Museum
The Salvatore Ferragamo Museum features little on many traveller’s lists of best museums in Florence and as such is unfairly underrated. Salvatore Ferrangmo was an influential fashion designer, specialising in shoes, from the 1920s to the 1960s.
The museum houses a collection of over 10,000 life model drawings as well as photographs, sketchbooks and wooden casts of celebrity feet!
Finding his calling for creating and constructing shoes at the tender age of nine, Ferragamo’s work took him around the world before returning to his beloved Florence to continue serving the wealthiest women of the 20th-century.
The Museo Galileo is a surprising juxtaposition to the plentiful art galleries in Florence, a good reminder that the Renaissance period was as significant in terms of the development of science as it was art.
Museo Galileo guides you through the scientific discoveries of the Renaissance period and features instruments and equipment used by the great Galileo himself. The Images of Science Exhibition is truly fascinating and is a vital conservation project of the earliest use of photography in the scientific field.
Museo Galileo was called the Museo di Storia della Scienza until 2011, so if asking for directions to Museo Galileo doesn’t get you anywhere, refer to the old name!
Fabulous Museums in Florence
This is by no means a comprehensive list of the galleries and museums in Florence but it certainly gives you an insight into the vast variety of art, artefacts and architecture to discover in Tuscany’s cultural capital.
Universally speaking, the Uffizi Gallery is a must visit, but why not stray a little from the beaten track and explore the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum and the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy too? Remember to purchase your skip the line ticket in advance, you’ll thank us later!
When you’re done with visiting all the museums in Florence, why not check out some of the best scenic Italian road trips including the Via Chiantigiana which runs between Florence and Sienna.
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