la notte dei musei

Do you have fantasies about wandering the halls of Pitti Palace after midnight, pretending you live there? Do you dream about spending a late night evening with David? How about thoughts of exploring Cosimo’s offices after dark? (We’re convinced the Uffizi has more than a few ghost stories to tell.)

Uffizi at Night by gschroeder

Uffizi at Night by gschroeder

No, just us?

If you’ve never considered late night museum hopping before, let us assure you that it’s one of the main reasons FFF was founded. Once in awhile, Florence’s biggest museums throw open their doors, stay up late, and say, “Take me, I’m yours!” This Saturday, May 18th, is one of those special nights. Known as the Notte dei musei, from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. visitors enjoy free entry to the Accademia, the Uffizi, the Galleria Palatina at Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Vecchio (open 6 p.m. until midnight), the San Marco Museum, and a smattering of Medici villas: Poggio a Caiano, Cerreto Guidi, and Petraia.

Now you may think you’ve seen everything these major museums have to offer, but at night the galleries take on a whole other aura that adds to their mystique. The lightly lit rooms showcase masterpiece after masterpiece and cast shadows in all the right corners. And often times, the later you visit, the less crowded the museums.  Some time after 11 p.m. it can feel like you’re on an intimate date with Botticelli, Raphael, Caravaggio, or whomever your preferred Renaissance heartthrob may be. The hardest part now is choosing your adventure for the night!

Perhaps these extra events will help you pick (or further complicate your choice, it’s a toss up):

  • A special exhibit, “From the Dynastic Collections to the Palatine Gallery: Masterpieces at Palazzo Pitti,” will be on display at the Palatine Gallery.
  • Musicians from the State Conservatory of Music, “L. Cherubini,” of Florence will play a free concert at 8 p.m. in the San Marco library.
  • At Palazzo Vecchio, guests can enjoy talks and tours of different rooms of the palace for free. Explore the building from either Cosimo or Isabella’s perspective; advance registration is required.
  • A special choral concert, “Sesto in Canto,” will be held at 9 p.m. at the Villa at Petraia and feature a diverse selection of music, including classical, jazz, gospel, and more.
  • An a unique opportunity to tour conserved artworks at the Villa at Poggio a Caiano. It starts at 9:15 p.m.; advance registration is required (call 055-877012).
  • At the Villa at Cerreto Guidi, a conference led by Marilena Tamassia, entitled “Bardini, Antiquario del Rinascimento: accrocchi e bardinate,” will start at 4:30 p.m. Then wander the villa until 9 p.m. when the San Miniato Basso string group hosts a free concert.

Or, might we suggest, taking our David walk and finishing it late-night standing in front of the original stud himself? With added stops at Palazzo Vecchio and San Marco along your route (touring the monks’ sleeping cells at night = a creepy dream come true!).

Even if you’re not in Florence, this special night is being celebrated throughout Italy and Europe, so you should have a chance to late-night museum hop. For more information, visit

Buona notte!


  1. Great info AND you made me giggle. Double bonus! You two are an insane wealth of information! Love it!

    1. stop, you’re making us blush! (but really, keep it coming) thanks bev, we love that you love it!

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