the best deals for museum-hopping in florence

While we do our best to bring you the best lineup of free events and walks each month, sometimes stars and schedules just don’t align. Sometimes you just need to get into the Uffizi at high noon on a weekend, no ifs, ands, or Free Sundays about it. And as Florence heads deep into tourist season, any museum trip has the opportunity to turn into an icky outing full of sweaty line-waiting and crowded art-viewing senza personal space. Not exactly our cup of tea.

Florence Crowd - Photo by Tim Green - Copyright 2008

{look familiar?} Florence Crowd – Photo by Tim Green – Copyright 2008

Well, we’re about to get crazy on ya. Up until this point, we’ve given you every free workaround we could get our hands on (and don’t worry, there are plenty more to come). But our philosophy at FFF isn’t to spend absolutely no money; it’s to help make the most of the time and money you do have. In Florence for only the weekend and want to see all its worldly wonders? There’s a way to do that without falling victim to the usual tourist traps. Have more time to explore the sites, but don’t want to pay for ticket after ticket and stand in line after line? We’ve got something for that, too.

Stay with us, here…we promise to get you over the initial sticker shock.

Pitti Palace & Florence from the Boboli Gardens by Avital Pinnick on Flickr

{we can get you here!} Pitti Palace & Florence from the Boboli Gardens by Avital Pinnick on Flickr

For the Marathon-Museumer who Likes to Moonlight as a VIP: The Firenze Card | 72 euros

72 euros? We went from a year of boasting about our zero-centesimi escapades to asking you to fork over 72 euros, just like that? You always knew there was a catch, didn’t you?

Yes, 72 euros is a big hunk of cash, but let us explain! The Firenze Card is 72 euros for 72 hours of star-quality treatment. This one card is almost as good as having Matteo Renzi hand you an oversized key to the city, as it allows priority access to all the major museums, villas, churches and historical gardens in Florence (60 different sites, to be exact!). What does priority access mean? Picture this:

Cute Italian minding the museum ticket queue: Buon giorno! Can I help you?

You in your most sophisticated museum-hopping outfit: Buon giorno! Yes, I have this… (casually flash Firenze card)

Cute Italian: Oh my dear! I should have known by your great hair and stylish apparel. You were not made to stand in this hours-long line! Please, head right to the entrance and begin your visit subito!

You in your sweetest Italian accent: Grazie mille! (throw in a wink if you’re feeling extra saucy)

Then you begin your tour ahead of the other schmucks still waiting for tickets and spend an hour or two wandering the halls of a famous palazzo. Upon leaving, you realize the cute Italian has abandoned his/her post and patiently waited for you to exit so he/she could take you out for a scoop of Florence’s best gelato…

Ok, we may have started improvising a bit at the end there. But the Firenze Card will allow you to skip the ticket queue and head straight to the front door of Florence’s most famous museums. And when we say all the major players are included, we mean it; swipe your card and you can waltz into the Uffizi, Bargello, Strozzi, Pitti, or any other place you chose.

Line-up for Uffizi by howdi_ane on Flickr

{not you, not today!} Line-up for Uffizi by howdi_ane on Flickr

But star treatment is about more than easy entry, and the Firenze Card delivers the extra mile. Every exhibition is open to you, without the added ticket fee. All public transportation is free while the card is active; just wave it on the bus’ ticket readers to cover more ground in less time. The card also allows you to quickly tap into Florence’s city-wide WIFI points, so you’ll always be able to Instagram your latest snap of your VIP visits. Plus, the Firenze Card has its own app, with a handy map of every museum, WIFI, and info point in to the city; important information on every site, like hours, addresses, and a brief history; and an events calendar that will detail all the exhibits you might want to check out over the next 3 days. And if you’re an EU citizen, any family member under 18 traveling with you can tag along on your card for free!

Still not convinced the 72 euros is worth it? Let us do the math for you (because as art historians, we’re obviously very good at math):

Individually purchased tickets to the Palatine Gallery at Pitti + Boboli Gardens (15,50), the latest exhibit at Palazzo Strozzi (13,50), entry to the Uffizi (6,50) & Accademia (6,50), plus a 3-day bus ticket (12) and hours of waiting in line (-500 fun points) = 54 euros and hours of wasted time

One Firenze Card with priority access to 60 of Florence’s most important museums, gardens, and historical sites, plus free bus fare and WIFI for three days and minimal waiting in line = 1 euro for every hour of priceless fun

The obvious drawback? You only have 72 hours to fit everything in! From the first swipe, the clock starts ticking. We recommend outlining a plan of attack before you go and purchasing your ticket online in advance to make your outing as smooth as possible.

Uffizi - DSC 8578 ep

Inside the Uffizi Gallery by Eric Parker on Flickr

For the Long-Term Florence Lover who Shuns the Tourist Tag: The Amici degli Uffizi Card | 60 euros

Staying in town longer than a few days? Looking to assimilate into Florence while still exploring all her charms? We’ve got the card for you. Flashing an Amici degli Uffizi card will allow you unlimited entry (while skipping the line) at many of the city’s most celebrated museums for a full calendar year:

Uffizi Gallery
Accademia Gallery
The Pitti Palace (Including the Palatine Gallery & Royal Apartments, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Costume Gallery, the Medici Treasury, the Porcelain Museum, the Boboli Gardens & the Bardini Gardens)
Bargello National Museum
Museum of the Medici Chapels
Museum of Palazzo Davanzati
Museum of San Marco
Medici Villa of Cerreto Guidi & Historical Hunting and Territorial Museum

Even better, holding this card in hand will tell others that you’re not just another tourist using and abusing the museums for your selfish pleasure. Instead, it says, “I support Florence, her culture, and her artistic heritage,” as the fee is really a pledge of financial support to the Amici degli Uffizi Association, a non-profit organization that promotes the Uffizi’s cultural activities and importance. The group obtains funding solely through membership fees and voluntary contributions from private citizens, institutions and organizations. 60 euros doesn’t sound so steep when it’s really a small gift to the city we all hold so dear. Plus, they have varying membership levels, making it easier for families (100 euros for 2 adults and 2 children) and students (40 euros) to still support the museum and obtain their free-entry card.

Interested in having the perks associated with giving back a bit? The Amici degli Uffizi card can be purchased online or at the Uffizi welcome desk.

We hope we’ve convinced you that, once in a while, the big-ticket items are worth buying, particularly when they save time and money overall, and especially when they support the communities we love. Even Hannah and I are currently debating which card we should invest in while planning our upcoming trip. If you have any ideas and want to help us decide, let us know!
Advertisements

4 comments

  1. Carol Schroeder · · Reply

    In May 2013 I was using my Uffizi card. When I went to the Pitti to go into the Boboli Gardens I was told all card holders still had to get in line at the regular ticket booth. There was no special line for Uffizi card holders. They asked for ID along with my Uffizi card and gave me the entrance ticket. Perhaps, there is usually a Uffizi card line which moves quicker on some days. Maybe I was just unlucky but having to get in line even with a Uffizi card was frustrating. The Pitti was also the only place to ask for ID which can be asked for at all sites because the card is not transferable.

  2. I’m pretty sure the card doesn’t include BOTH the Boboli Gardens & the Bardini Gardens. You have to pay a separate fee to enter the Bardini Gardens.

  3. I purchased Uffizi family membership pass and I thought that the pass give me the priority to skip lines for all the museums. I was wrong. I was shock when I received the confirmation email from Uffizi stated that “our members can skip the line ONLY at the Uffizi Gallery”. So regret now. Should have bought the Firenze card.

    1. Oh no, Fay! Although thank you for commenting here so that we are aware of the Uffizi pass problem. Any other advice you could pass along to other travelers from the experience? Hopefully the next one is less stressful on the lines..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: