Here’s my guide to everything you can do to prepare for a visit to Florence’s truly amazing Uffizi Gallery, including tips for how to get advance tickets to the uber popular museum.
The art-rich Uffizi Gallery is one of the most famous museums in the western world. It may be Florence’s #1 attraction, after the Duomo. The Uffizi is overflowing with amazing art works from the International Gothic period and the early, high, and late Renaissance. It has a world class collection of ancient statuary.
A visit to the Uffizi is a visually rewarding experience. But it can be exhausting. There’s a masterpiece at every turn. Plus, if you’re not an art expert, the Uffizi can be hard to decipher.
Don’t just show up. It’s best to have a plan of attack and purchase tickets in advance.
The Uffizi is much more appealing if you’ve done your background research and know what to expect. Then, you can take in the astonishing art without confusion, stress, or FOMO.
If you’re like me, you don’t always like formal tours. I like to linger over things and not be rushed from room to room. Plus, what I like may not be what a tour guide is showing me.
Everything To Know Before Visiting the Uffizi Gallery in Florence
Here’s what you can do, DYI style, to prepare for and tackle your visit to the Uffizi in efficient fashion. You can plan your visit down to the last detail, if you’re so inclined.
1. Identify and Educate Yourself On the Must See Uffizi Masterpieces
First, read up on the must see masterpieces in the Uffizi. I’ve written an extensive guide to the Uffizi, complete with 18 must see masterpieces and tips for visiting and getting tickets.
2. Learn the Uffizi Layout With a Map
The Uffizi is spread out over three floors. The ground floor is the ticket office and main entrance.
The first floor features the lesser halls, like the Cabinet of Prints and Drawings. The second floor is the main event, where all the masterpieces are shown. That’s where you begin your tour.
The Botticelli Rooms, halls 10-14, are the most popular in the Uffizi. At peak times, the Birth of Venus is perpetually besieged by guided groups. The newly reshuffled Raphael and Michelangelo Room is also popular. Visit very early or late in the day to avoid this, and don’t visit in the summer if you can help it.
3. Read an Ebook
Another way to get some digestible information is through an ebook on Amazon Kindle. Click here for an ebook for first timers at the Uffizi. It’s from an art historian in Florence that covers a 5 hour visit to the Uffizi.
4. Listen to Rick Steve’s Free Audio Guide
Rick Steve’s free audio guide to the Uffizi pairs nicely with the ebook by Alexandra Korey. Click here to download it.
5. Listen to Free Uffizi Podcasts
These podcasts are handy primers for visiting the Uffizi. They come from ArtTrav, Rebuilding the Renaissance, the Renaissance Podcast, and Art Curious.
Introduction to the Uffizi Gallery: This podcast provides a brief introduction to the building designed by Giorgio Vasari and the logic of the Uffizi collections.
The Giotto Room: The Giotto room is the first room you enter in the galleries. With large Madonnas by Giotto, Cimabue, and Duccio, this room demonstrates the proto-Renaissance. This podcast helps you understand the subtle differences between these paintings.
International Gothic Room: When you leave the Giotto room you go into a room with some very important and beautiful paintings that are in a different style. This podcast explains what the International Gothic style means and how it’s a pre-cursor to the Renaissance.
Uffizi Medieval Paintings: This podcast, by Rocky Ruggeiro, discusses the Uffizi’s extraordinary collection of medieval paintings. These include works by Giotto, Simone Martini, and Ambrogio Lorenzetti.
Leonardo da Vinci: This podcast gives an overview of the life and career of Leonardo da Vinci, perhaps the Renaissance’s most famous artist. Leonardo’s paintings, The Annunciation and Adoration of the Magi are must see paintings at the Uffizi.
6. Listen to the Smarthistory YouTube Videos About Uffizi Paintings
Check out these super informative YouTube videos about specific master art works at the Uffizi:
- Botticelli’s Birth of Venus
- Botticelli’s Primavera
- Gentileschi‘s Judith and Holofernes
- Lippi’s Madonna and Child With Two Angels
- Titian’s Venus of Urbino
- Leonardo’s Adoration of the Magi
- Simoni Martini’s Anunciation
- Raphael’s Madonna of the Goldfinch
7. Take a Virtual Tour of the Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi’s own HyperVision tours are also excellent, analyzing masterpieces or focusing on a particular theme. If you want to take a deep dive into the catalog, the Uffizi also has a digital archive.
8. Uffizi Card
If you’re planing on visiting more than three or four museums while you’re in Florence, there are two discount museum cards available. One lasts three days. The other, providing entry only to state museums, is best for longer stays in Florence.
9. How To Get Uffizi Tickets
And, finally … drumroll … how to you get into the august Uffizi? The line for the Uffizi is horrifically long. Trust me.
To enjoy your visit, you must reserve tickets in advance. If you book online at B-ticket here, there’s an extra € 4 fee for a total of € 20. But it’s worth it as opposed to waiting in the general line.
Many companies offer excellent guided group tours of 90 minutes, 2 hours or 3 hours. The tours must be booked in advance and leave at pre-scheduled times. If you want a group tour, I recommend Context Travel or Walks of Italy.
You can also opt for a combined ticket that allows you to visit he Uffizi, Pitti Palace, and the Boboli Gardens. It’s valid for three days in a row. You can enter each museum once for the total cost of €18 (from November to February) or € 38 (from March to October).
However, you only get one priority skip the line admission. With the combined ticket, it’s mandatory to select the day and the hour you wish to enter the Uffizi, which should be the first museum to visit. If you’ve purchased the Firenze Card, it’s no longer accepted for skip the line admission.
You can book Uffizi tickets in person at the following locations: (1) Door 2 of the Uffizi; (2) the National Archaeological Museum ticket office; (3) the Orsanmichele museum store; or (4) the ticket office of any national museum in Florence.
Other Practical Information & Tips for Visiting the Uffizi Gallery
Address: Piazzale degli Uffizi, adjacent to the Piazza della Signoria
Hours: Open daily 8:15 am to 6:50 pm Tuesday through Sunday, closed Mondays and holidays. In the summer, to accommodate crowds, the Uffizi sometimes stays open until 11:00 pm a couple nights per week. It’s not announced in advance. Check the Uffizi Website.
Entry fee: € 20. If you book online here, there’s an extra € 4 fee. But it’s well worth it as opposed to waiting in the general line. You can get a combination ticket for the Uffizi, the Pitti Palace, and the Boboli Gardens for € 38.
Audio Guide: The Uffizi audio guide is € 6. You can also download an audio guide in advance of your visit.
Website: The official website for the Uffizi and several other city museums is polomuseale.firenze.it
You may be interested in these other guides to the must see art in Florence:
If you’d like tips for visiting the famed Uffizi Gallery in Florence, pin it for later.