Planning a trip to Florence Italy?
If you want to see the city’s spectacular must visit attractions in Florence, you have to plan ahead. This Florence guide gives you must know tips for making advance reservations and visiting the top sites, landmarks, and museums.
Florence is a fantastically popular city. In peak season, notoriously long queues plague many of Florence’s top attractions.
This is especially true at the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia (with Michelangelo’s David), and Brunelleschi’s dome. In fact, you’ll find long lines all year long, not just in high season.
Smart travelers save hours of lining up by planning ahead. For Florence, you have to be organized to avoid disappointment or angst.
Here’s my guide to the attractions that you need to pre-book in advance for Florence. I also tell you how to make the necessary reservations and what tours you might want to book.
Where Do You Need a Reservation In Florence?
Here are the popular attractions in Florence that you need to book in advance. It’s easiest to book online.
1. Uffizi Gallery
The 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.
But you likely won’t see these masterpieces unless you make a reservation.
The official website for the Uffizi and several other city museums is polomuseale.firenze.it When booking advance tickets online, note that available time slots for full price tickets are marked “Intero/Full.”
Once you’ve selected a slot, you’ll receive an email with a voucher. You take that to the Uffizi ticket desk a few minutes before your visit to swap for an actual ticket. Be sure to get in the right line to avoid wasting precious time.
If there are no available slots on the museum website or you want an easier way to book, you can purchase a ticket via Get Your Guide or Viator. They charge approximately € 5 more per ticket. But they may have more time slots available, if you want or need flexibility.
Various companies also offer guided museum tours that include a reserved museum admission. These fill up quickly too. For the Uffizi, you have quite a few options, including:
- a 1.5 hour small group guided tour
- a 2 hour small group guided tour
- a 2 hour private tour
- a 2 hour early entry guided tour (8:30 am)
- a combined tour of the Uffizi + Brunelleschi’s dome
- a 5 hour tour of both the Uffizi and the Accademia
2. Accademia Gallery
After the Uffizi, the Accademia Gallery is Florence’s most visited museum. People flock in to see what is probably the world’s most famous sculpture, Michelangelo’s commanding statue of David.
The 17 foot sculpture is considered the embodiment of male beauty, a Calvin Klein-like model of physical perfection. It’s mesmerizing in person.
If you want to see this hunk, you need to make a reservation. By doing so, you gain access to the Accademia through a separate, reserved entrance.
You can pre-book a skip the line ticket for this popular Florence attraction. You can also opt for a 1.5 hour guided tour with fast track ticket. You can also combine the Academia with a walking tour of Florence.
3. Florence Cathedral and Brunelleschi’s Dome
To see all the Duomo sites, you used to be able to buy a 72 hour Duomo skip the line combination ticket. That’s no longer possible. You have to book separately for each site or combine them on guided tours.
By far the biggest hit is the climb to Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome. It’s only possible with a pre-purchased ticket.
Dome climb time slots can fill up days or weeks in advance, so reserve well ahead. Click here to book a ticket for the dome climb.
You may want to book a guided tour of the Duomo itself. You can also book a guided tour of the Duomo that includes access to the dome and secret terraces that you wouldn’t see on a regular visit.
You can also book a combination guided tour for the Baptistery, Duomo Museum and a dome climb. This 3 hour combination guided tour covers the four attractions I’ve just mentioned, plus Giotto’s bell tower.
You can also try to buy your tickets in person in Florence. Go to either the main Duomo ticket office (facing the Baptistery) or at a ticket machine in the Duomo Museum lobby.
4. Bargello Museum
The underrated Bargello Museum houses an amazing collection of Renaissance sculptures. The most important works are in the Michelangelo and Donatello rooms.
Those include Michelangelo’s first major sculpture, Bacchus, and his Pitti Tondo, Donatello’s acclaimed Bronze David and St. George, and Bernini’s Bust of Costanza.
You generally don’t have to book in advance for this museum. But in high season, it’s probably the way to go.
Here’s my complete guide to the must see masterpieces of the Bargello Museum. Click here to pre-book a Bargello ticket. Click here to book a ticket + tour.
5. Medici Chapel | New Sacristy
The Medici Chapel is an awe inspiring must see site in Florence. The museum has the largest number of Michelangelo sculptures in Florence.
It’s part of the magnificent Basilica of San Lorenzo Complex. But, as a national museum, the Medici Chapel has a separate entrance and separate ticket. San Lorenzo was the official parish church of the Medici family.
Michelangelo himself designed the Medici Chapel, also known as the New Sacristy, between 1520-34. Michelangelo carved six tomb statues — the effigies of Giuliano and Lorenzo de Medici and the allegories of Night, Day, Dusk and Dawn.
Night is regarded as one of Michelangelo’s finest works. To me, the effigy of Giuliano is also extraordinarily beautiful.
The Medici Chapel has become more popular in recent years. It’s best to book a ahead to make sure you see Michelangelo’s sculptures. Otherwise, you might not finish the Michelangelo trail in Florence.
6. Pitti Palace
The Palazzo Pitti is a must visit destination in Florence for art lovers. It’s located in the Oltrarno district, which is now Florence’s trendiest neighborhood.
The palace houses four museums. The most important museum, by far, is the Palatine Gallery. It occupies the left wing of the first floor.
The Palatine houses an impressive collection of over 500 paintings, displayed amid lavish furnishings. It includes old masters works by Botticelli, Raphael, Titian, Rubens, Caravaggio, and other European and Italian painters.
You might not need reservations at the Pitti Palace, if it’s not high season. But why wait in line, if like me you’re allergic to lines?
You can book a combined tour of the Pitti Palace, Uffizi Gallery and the Academia to see Florence’s best museums. There’s also a combined ticket and guided tour to the palace, the Palatine gallery, and the Boboli Gardens.
The palace gardens are gorgeous, but you have to book a separate ticket for them. Click here to pre-book a skip the line ticket to the Boboli Gardens.
7. Brancacci Chapel
The Brancacci Chapel is a supreme example of early Renaissance painting. It’s completely filled with frescos by early Renaissance artist Masaccio and his workshop.
It’s considered one of the three important chapels of the Renaissance, along with the Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel in Padua and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in Rome. Masaccio was the first artist to experiment with single point perspective. He departed from the prevailing flat and static Gothic style painting.
If you want to see these rare Masaccio masterpieces, you should reserve an entry time at the Brancacci Chapel. You can book spots up until the day before your visit. A reservation is basically mandatory from March through October. In the off-season, you might be able to walk right in.
Reservation times begin every 30 minutes, with a maximum of 30 visitors per time slot. You have 25 minutes inside the chapel. If it’s not too busy, you may be allowed to stay longer.
Here’s my complete guide to the Brancacci Chapel.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my tips for making reservations in Florence. You may enjoy these other Florence travel guides:
- 3 Day Itinerary for Florence
- Hidden gems in Florence
- Best day trips from Florence
- Guide to the Bargello Museum
- Guide to the Piazza della Signoria
- Guide to the Palazzo Vecchio Museum
- Must See Sites in Florence for Art Lovers
- Best Museums in Florence
- Beautiful Churches in Florence
If you want to be a smart traveler and make reservations for Florence, pin it for later.