• Leslie

Popular Sites You Need Advance Reservations For In Florence

Updated: Jul 19

cityscape of Florence

Wondering how to see the most popular sites in Florence? In peak season, notoriously long queues plague many of Florence's must see sights — especially 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 which sites you need to pre-book in advance for Florence and how to make the necessary reservations.

Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1486 -- one of the world's most famous paintings

Where Do You Need a Reservation In Florence?

Here are the popular sites in Florence that you need to book in advance. It's easiest to book on line. I tell you everything you need to know about reservations in Florence below.

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.

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.

Caravaggio, Bacchus, 1596

If there are no available slots on the museum website, you can try to buy from ticket vendors such as Florence.net or Tickitaly.com. 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. If you're booking a private guide well in advance, they will likely be happy to obtain tickets and reservations for your tour with them.

For more information on the amazing Uffizi Gallery, click here for my guide to the museum (with tips for visiting) and here for my DIY prep guide for the museum.

Michelangelo's David in the rotunda of the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence

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. Click here to book in advance and reserve a spot.

Florence's Duomo and the iconic Brunelleschi dome

3. Climbing the Duomo's Dome

Florence's most distinctive monuments are in the city's Duomo complex. To see all the sites, you should buy the 72 hour Duomo combination ticket online for 18 euros.

The ticket gives you a single entry to the Duomo, Baptistery, Campanile, Duomo Museum, and the Santa Reparata crypt (inside the cathedral). To read more about these (and other) must see Florence sites click here.

The Duomo Museum, possibly the most important of these sights, never has long lines. But it's recently undergone a 50 million euro renovation to draw in art lovers. The Campanile and Baptistery offer no reserved tickets, and usually have lines of modest length.

But the climb to Brunelleschi's magnificent dome is only possible with an advance reservation. You can book a time when you purchase your combination ticket. Dome climb time slots can fill up days in advance, so reserve well ahead. Click here for my guide to climbing Brunelleschi's dome.

You can also buy your combo ticket in person in Florence and try to reserve a dome climb entry time. Go to either the main Duomo ticket office (facing the Baptistery) or at a ticket machine in the Duomo Museum lobby.

courtyard of the Bargello Museum

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 the Bargello gives you the option. So, if you're a planner, book online here. Click here for my complete guide to the must see masterpieces of the Bargello Museum.

the tomb of Lorenzo de Medici in the Medici Chapel

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 skip the line timed entry reservation to make sure you see Michelangelo's sculptures. Otherwise, you might not finish the Michelangelo trail in Florence. Click here to reserve a spot.

Raphael, Woman With a Veil, 1512-15 -- at the Pitti Palace

6. Pitti Palace

The absolutely awesome Palazzo Pitti is located in the Oltrarno district, which is now Florence's trendiest neighborhood. The palace houses 8 art galleries. The most important museum 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. But why wait in line, if like me you're allergic to lines? You have the option to make a reservation for the Pitti Palace here.

Masaccio frescos in the Brancacci Chapel

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, instead of the flat Gothic style painting that prevailed in the day.

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.

room in the Duomo Museum

If you need more of Florence, here are some of my other guides:

Guide to the Bargello Museum

Guide to the Uffizi Gallery

DIY Prep for the Uffizi Gallery

Guide to the Piazza della Signoria

Guide to the Palazzo Vecchio Museum

Must See Sites in Florence for Art Lovers

Best Museums in Florence

If you want to be a smart traveler in Florence, pin it for later.