Florence is home to dozens of art museums-- some of which are among the most visited museums in the world. Check out Sarah's tips on how to make the most of free admission days!
In Florence, there is a beautiful thing called free museum days. On certain days, a number of famous museums offer free admission for various reasons. On the first Sunday of every month, a bunch of museums are free. Often some museums offer free entrance to celebrate Italian and Florentine events or holidays. CAPA gives us a heads up on these free days, and they are also in the program calendar. In this blog, I want to show you the museums that I have seen so far, free of charge. Sure, you might have to wait in long lines depending on when you go, but it’s worth it. My advice is to try to go early in the morning, or late in the afternoon.
Not far from Ponte Vecchio, is the Pitti Palace. This is a large palace bought by the Medici family in the 16th century. Since then, the palace was occupied and used by the ruling families of Tuscany. Napoleon also occupied the Pitti during the 18th century and used it as a main base. The palace overlooks the Boboli Gardens and contains amazing renaissance art. I was most impressed with the expansive and elaborate ceiling frescoes, although most of them are replications and not originals.
So intricate and complicated!
I was so impressed with the ceilings!
Boboli Gardens from Pitti.
There are many fountains and cool caves.
Catch different colors in the Boboli.
You also see some great views of Florence here!
Another view from inside the garden.
A tranquil spot and a unique museum.
One more view.
The Uffizi is a must see.
One of Florence’s most famous museums is the Uffizi Gallery. I really think it’s a gift to be able to come here for free, considering it’s one of the most visited art museums in the world. Here, you’ll have to beat the crowds or deal with them because many, many people come here when it’s free. I came before it opened in the morning, and there was already a decent-sized line. But hey, it’s one of the most visited Italian museums. The actual museum is very large; it holds a great amount of beautiful Italian Renaissance art. I actually have come here on two different free museum days, because it is so large and cool. I’d advise you to give yourself a good couple of hours here.
Group of Hercules slaying the centaur Nessus.
I even saw a rainbow from the second floor of the gallery!
Church and Museum of Orsanmichele
Orsanmichele was originally a grain market, and then later used as a church and chapel for Florence’s trade guilds. The guilds were very important in medieval times, especially for political participation. On the outside of the museum, you can see statues of all of the different patron saints for the different guilds. This church is smaller but still really beautiful. Free entry is offered here on every first Sunday of the month.
So far, these are all the museums I have gone to for free. However, I’m planning on going to even more for no cost. This week, I’m excited to finally go to the Galleria dell’Accademia, where I’ll see Michelangelo’s famous David statue. From November 5th to November 10th, free entrance is offered at the Accademia to promote the beginning of low tourist season in Florence. Yay! This also means museum ticket prices are all going down. On December 1st, I’m planning on visiting as many of these museums as possible: the Bargello, the Medici Chapels, Palazzo Davanzati, and Lord Martelli’s House. A couple of these are also free on November 30th to celebrate Tuscany Day, so I should be able to see them all.
Being aware of when free museum days are saves me some money in the end. Overall, I’ll visit nine museums for free by taking the opportunity on free days. I’m also looking forward to going inside the Duomo soon. I decided I’m going to use my museum ticket that CAPA pays for on this. So in total, I’ll actually get to see ten museums for free. Not bad.
Sarah Graham is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2019, sharing her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. An English major at University of Massachusetts Amherst, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.
Sarah's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.