Florence Museum Guide: How to Visit the Best Museums in Florence Italy (and maybe a few you’ve never heard of)

Florence is a beautiful historic city with many iconic sites, but for many visitors, the main draw of the city is its magnificent abundance of art. With such recognizable masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, it’s easy to see why Florence museums offer such a huge draw to art enthusiasts. You’ve most likely heard of the famous Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria dell’Accademia, but there are many other museums in Florence Italy that are well worth a visit. 

The Best Museums in Florence Italy

Uffizi Gallery

As I mentioned above, the Uffizi Gallery is one of the most famous art museums in Florence Italy, and also in all the world. It is also the most visited. Containing thousands of works of art, many from the renaissance period. Famous works of art not to miss here are Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and Primavera, da Vinci’s Annunciation, and Caravaggio’s Medusa

Beyond the art, be sure to stop and appreciate the building itself. Built in 1560 for Cosimo de Medici as the family’s offices, the building is stunning. 

As this is one of the most visited museums in Florence, I recommend purchasing a skip the line ticket in advance of your visit. 

Gallerria dell’Accademia

Best known for housing Michelangelo’s David, the Gallerria dell’Accademia has many sculptures and paintings by Florentine artists from the Italian renaissance. It’s a smaller Florence museum than the Uffizi, but still large and I recommend taking a tour if you can. You will learn so much more. 

Palazzo Vecchio

This is my favorite art museum in Florence Italy. The Palazzo (palace) was once the home to the Florentine government and is now one of the best museums in Florence to get a taste for ancient Italian art and culture.

Be sure to check out the Hall of Five Hundred (Salone dei Cinquecento) with painted frescoes by Leonardo and Michelangelo. You can climb the Tower for a fantastic view of the city. The palace was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, the designer of the Duomo of Florence. 

My favorite thing about the Palazzo Vecchio is actually their programs for children. There are several guided activities that are great for families, but you can pick up a free backpack scavenger hunt that will take your littles all around Florence, learning, exploring, and laughing. 

Palazzo Pitti

Once home to the influential Medici family, the Palazzo Pitti, designed by Brunaleschi, now holds more than thousands of works of art. There are actually several museums located in the palace. But in my opinion, the real gem is in the backyard of the palace, the Boboli Gardens. 

If you have kids, the Boboli gardens are a great way to find some rare green space in the city. Be sure to remember that the sculptures in the gardens are also works of art and not to touch or climb on them. 

If you want a more in-depth look at the most popular Pitti Palace museum, taking a tour of the Palatine Museum will help you to learn the history of each room and piece of artwork from an expert guide. 

Ospedale degli Innocenti

The building, designed by Brunelleschi, was once an orphanage and houses over 600 years’ worth of history. Ospedale degli Innocenti means “hospital of the innocents.”

Along with the artwork, the museum also focuses on the lives and stories of the children who once lived in the orphanage. 

Museo Novecento

Containing more than 400 works of modern Italian art, this Florence art museum was created after a terrible flood in 1966. Following the flood, which destroyed thousands of works of art, a committee of art historians were able to raise public awareness and artists from all over the world donated artwork to replace the ones that were lost. 

Bargello Museum

Originally built as a prison, the Bargello Museum was Italy’s first national museum and opened in 1865. There is a huge collection of Renaissance sculptures here from famous artists such as Michelangelo and Donatello, and other artifacts from the Medici collection. You may know Michelangelo’s David, but here you can see Donatello’s David, a very different depiction of the Biblical character. 

Museo Salvatore Ferragamo

If you are into shoes or the history of film, this is the museum for you! Salvatore Ferragamo moved to the US and worked as a shoemaker, working with famous Hollywood actors. You can see exhibitions featuring his shoes, Italian actors, and movies filmed in Italy. 

Gucci Museum & Gardens

If fashion is your thing, be sure to visit the Gucci Museum. Did you know that Gucci started right here in Florence? You can follow it’s evolution in this unique Florence museum. There is a Gucci store, a lovely garden and restaurant as well.

The Streets of Florence 

One of my favorite places to see art in Florence is actually on the streets of the city. Between the graffiti, murals, and artists sketching in the piazzas of Florence, there’s a lot to see! A great way to see some of the best art is by taking this Florence Street Art Tour. 

I hope you’ve been able to find a museum or two or three to your liking. Florence has so much to offer beyond the lovely David. Take a chance on one of these unique Florence museums to add something new to your trip.

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