Florence: What To Book In Advance

Planning a trip to Florence Italy and want to make the most of your visit to the city’s incredible attractions? It’s important to plan ahead, make reservations, and pre-book tickets and tours.

Florence is an extremely popular destination. During peak season, long queues are a common issue at many of the city’s sites.

This is particularly true for the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia (home to Michelangelo’s David), and Brunelleschi’s dome. 

cityscape of Florence
cityscape of Florence

In fact, long lines are common even during the off-season. To avoid wasting hours in queues, it’s wise for travelers to plan ahead.

Organizing visits and securing advance tickets can make a significant difference, ensuring a smoother, more enjoyable experience.

In this Florence guide, you’ll find crucial advice on making advance reservations and buying tickets, helping you fully enjoy the city’s top sites without the hassle of long waits.

Pinterest pin for tickets and reservations in Florence
Pinterest pin for tickets and reservations in Florence

Tickets & Reservations In Florence

Here are the popular attractions in Florence that you need to book in advance. It’s easiest to book online.

You can also save money by booking one of the Florence City Cards.

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.

Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1486 -- one of the world's most famous paintings. You can't see it unless you make advance reservation in Florence
Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1486

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.

Caravaggio, Bacchus, 1596
Caravaggio, Bacchus, 1596

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, Viator, or Tiqets. 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:

Tip: For more information on the amazing Uffizi Gallery, here’s my guide to the Uffizi and my DIY prep tips for the Uffizi.

Michelangelo's David in the rotunda of the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence
Michelangelo’s David in the Galleria dell’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 must make a timed entry reservation. By doing so, you gain access to the Accademia through a separate, reserved entrance.

Tip: There are multiple lines. Be sure to get in the line that corresponds to the entry time on your ticket.

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.

Brunelleschi's dome
Brunelleschi’s dome

3. Florence Cathedral and Brunelleschi’s Dome

Florence’s top landmark is its Duomo complex. It includes the Duomo itself, the Baptistery, the Giotto bell tower, Brunelleschi’s dome, and the Duomo Museum. To access the monuments, you can choose from BrunelleschiGiotto or Ghiberti Pass on the official website.

The Brunelleschi Pass is the most comprehensive. You’ll get access to the Brunelleschi’s dome, Giotto’s bell tower, the baptistery, the duomo museum, and Santa Reparata.

The Giotto Pass gives you access to four of those attractions. And the Ghiberti Pass gives you entry to three.

The only one that lets you climb Brunelleschi’s dome, the most popular thing to do in Florence, is the Brunelleschi pass. You’ll have to reserve a specific time to enter.

Dome climb time slots can fill up days or weeks in advance, so reserve well ahead. If these are sold out, you can book a ticket for a dome climb on Get Your Guide or Tiqets.

view of Florence from Brunelleschi's dome
view of Florence from Brunelleschi’s dome

Another way to see the monuments (especially if tickets are sold out) is to book a guided tour.

You can book a guided tour of the Duomo itself. You can even 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 that includes 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.

courtyard of the Bargello Museum
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 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.

the tomb of Lorenzo de Medici in the Medici Chapel
Michelangelo’s Tomb of Lorenzo de Medici in the Medici Chapel

5. Medici Chapels | New Sacristy

The Medici Chapels are 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. San Lorenzo was the official parish church of the Medici family.

But, as a national museum, the Medici Chapel has a separate entrance and separate ticket.

Michelangelo himself designed 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.

Michelangelo, Night, 1520 -- in the Medici Chapel
Michelangelo, Night, 1520

You can also visit Michelangelo’s secret room where he sought refuge during the Medici’s resurgence in 1530.

In November 2023, it opened to the public on a limited basis, transitioning from scholars-only access. However, obtaining tickets is challenging and you’ll need to book months in advance.

Small group visits of four people, each lasting 15 minutes, are organized to preserve the fragile artworks. There are 45-minute intervals between visits to safeguard the drawings.

If unavailable, visitors can still view a video and some charcoal drawings by Michelangelo.

The Medici Chapel has become very popular in recent years. It’s best to book ahead to make sure you see Michelangelo’s sculptures. Otherwise, you might not finish the Michelangelo trail in Florence.

Click here to pre-purchase a skip the line ticket. Click here to book a 2 hour guided tour of the chapel.

the Pitti Palace

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?

ceiling frescos by Pietro da Cortona in the Pitti Palace
ceiling frescos by Pietro da Cortona in the Pitti Palace

Click here to pre-book a ticket to the Pitti Palace. Click here to book a guided tour of the magnificent museum.

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.

READ: Complete Guide To the Pitti Palace

Masaccio frescos in the Brancacci Chapel, for which you'll need a ticket and advance reservation
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. He departed from the prevailing flat and static Gothic style painting.

If you want to see these rare Masaccio masterpieces, you should book a ticket in advance. 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.

courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio
courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio

8. Palazzo Vecchio

Built in the 14th century, the Palazzo Vecchio was Florence’s seat of power, home to the council that governed the Republic of Florence. It sits in the city’s most famous square, the Piazza della Signoria.

The highlight of the Palazzo Vecchio is the Hall of the Five Hundred, with frescos by Giorgio Vasari. You can also the Michelozzo-designed courtyard, the Studiolo of Francesco I de’ Medici, the Medici Apartments, and the Chapel of Eleonora.

Nowadays, you have to make a timed entry reservation to visit the palazzo. So you will need to book ahead of your visit.

Click here to book a skip the line ticket with a time slot reservation.

You can also book a guided tour of the palace. There is a secret passages tour with lunch. This guided 2 hour tour covers the palace and the Piazza della Signoria. 

Another popular 2 hour guided tour includes the palace and a climb of the Tower of Arnolfo. You can also book a private guided tour.

room in the Duomo Museum in Florence
room in the Duomo Museum

I hope you’ve enjoyed my tips for booking ahead in Florence. You may enjoy these other Florence travel guides:

If you want to be a smart traveler and make reservations for Florence, pin it for later.

Pinterest pin for reservations in Florence

4 thoughts on “Florence: What To Book In Advance”

  1. Thanks so much for this advice! Getting reservations always makes me anxious but hopefully I’ll be able to see most of the stuff on this list when I go to Italy this autumn.

    • I just got back from another visit to Florence. In May, there were huge lines for the Uffizi and the Accademia. You also simply cannot climb the Brunelleschi’s dome without a pre-booked ticket. You must have tickets for these three attractions at least! The others you may be able to walk right into in fall.

  2. I just returned from Italy. It was wonderful, but there is no way to see everything on the lists. My advice is to enjoy what you can, and do not stress. Lucky you are going in the fall. August is so very crowded.

    • I was just in Italy for 3 weeks in May. (I’m going to Sicily in the fall.) No, you can’t see all those attractions in a weekend, but I’ve been to Florence several times, so have seen them all. I don’t ever visit Europe in the summer anymore. It’s just too hot and crowded.


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