The city of Florence began to flourish in the early 1400s under the rule of Cosimo de Medici. Famous buildings designed during that period include the Pitti Palace and the Uffizi Gallery. Today, these buildings are museums housing works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Titian, Raphael and many others.
One of the most popular museums is the Uffizi Gallery which houses such famous works as the Birth of Venus and the Primavera by Botticelli, the Adoration of the Magi by Leonardo da Vinci as well as works by Michelangelo, Titian and Rubens. Because of its popularity and because only small groups are let into the museum at one time, people have to wait in line for several hours to visit the Uffizi Gallery. Not many visitors know the secret number that you can call in advance and reserve a specific time to visit the museum. For only about US $1 extra, you can call 39-055-294-883 and buy your tickets for the Uffizi Gallery.
The Pitti Palace houses several museums, including the Palatine Gallery on the ground floor, the Silver Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art. The Palatine Gallery is unlike any other art museum. It makes you feel like you are visiting an amazing private art gallery. The paintings are not organized in any particular order and hang in lavishly decorated rooms. Among the most important works presented in the Palatine Gallery are paintings by Titian and Raphael. The adjacent Boboli Gardens feature Renaissance-style gardens, statues and fountains.
Other great Florentine museums include the Medici Chapels, Bargello National Museum and the Accademia Gallery. The Medici Chapels feature the tombs of the Medici family and several beautiful sculptures by Michelangelo. Bargello National Museum houses 14th-century and Renaissance sculptures, including works by Michelangelo, Donatello and Brunelleschi. Accademia Gallery features the original David by Michelangelo and Madonna of the Sea by Botticelli.
Another secret to know if you want to avoid long lines at Florentine museums is that there are reservation services you can use to get tickets to most major Florentine museums for an additional fee, such as www.weekendafirenze.com or www.goporta.com. Be sure to specify the exact time of your visit. After you receive your confirmation, make sure you know where to go to bypass the line. For example, when visiting the Uffizi Gallery, go straight to the entrance located at the museum bookstore.
If you want to get off the beaten path, a fascinating museum is the the Ferragamo Museum (39-055-336-0456), located in Palazzo Spini Feroni. The museum houses historic sketches, photographs and over 10,000 pairs of shoes designed by Salvatore Ferragamo, including models worn by Marilyn Monroe, Katherine Hepburn and Rita Hayworth. The museum can be only be visited by appointment on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A few people are admitted at a time, so you can admire the shoe collection at your own pace. Admission to the museum is free.
Finding out More:Map of Italy
Museum Information:Uffizi Gallery
Address: Loggiato degli Uffizi, 6, Florence 50100
Address: Piazza Pitti, Florence 50100
The Medici Chapels
Address: Piazza Madonna, Florence 50100
Bargello National Museum
Address: Via del Proconsolo, 4, Florence 50100
The Accademia Gallery
Address: Via Ricasoli, 60, Florence 50100
Address: Via Tornabuoni, 2, Florence 50100