The Uffizi Gallery is one of the great art museums of the world and sits in the birthplace of the Renaissance. But is the Uffizi Gallery really worth your time?
The Gallerie Degli Uffizi or Uffizi Gallery is the best-known museum in Florence and one of the best in Italy. It’s home to pieces by da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and way more. There’s art in the Uffizi that you’ve seen in books: Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus or Caravaggio’s Medusa. In short, this museum is a Big Deal Art Museum.
But here’s the reality: classic art is not everybody’s cup of tea. I get that. So today I decided to try and help you figure out whether the Uffizi is the way you should spend one of your precious days in Florence!
For background, I really enjoy art but know very little about it. My favorite era is probably impressionism, which most Italian art museums don’t focus on. I can appreciate that something is beautiful but I can’t tell you why, or why such and such a piece is important.
Basically: I’m a clueless art fan. I tell you this so you can see my point of view as I describe the museum.
About the Uffizi Galleries
The Uffizi Galleries focus mostly on Medieval and Renaissance art. In my husband’s words, there are a lot of golden Jesuses.
You walk through the museum in a preset order, so feel free to breeze through sections that don’t grab you. The galleries start with early medieval works (again, golden Jesuses are everywhere), and then move forward in time to finish up with the late Renaissance. Don’t get overloaded before you get to the type of art you like most: there’s also more sculpture in the second half and fewer paintings.
As you walk through the exhibits, don’t get caught up in the pieces so much that you miss the rooms themselves! The building dates back to the 16th century to house the magistrate offices for the city, hence the name “uffizi,” meaning offices.
The building is gorgeous – don’t forget to look up at the ceilings and down at the floor. Many of the windows offer stunning views of the Arno River, and you can get a great shot of the Ponte Vecchio from a few.
You Should Visit the Uffizi Gallery if…
… you’ve ever teared up in front of a really great piece of art. (No judgment, I have once!)
… you nerd out over Greek and Roman mythology or Christian art.
… you love the intrigue of the Medici family.
I fall mostly into that second category. As a kid who used to be really into learning about the gods and goddesses of ancient Rome, much of the art told familiar stories even if I’d never heard of the artist. The Birth of Venus is so much more beautiful in person than it is in a history book.
You Should Skip the Uffizi Gallery if…
… you zone out after the third room of any art museum.
… you’re on a whirlwind tour of Italy or Europe and this will be your sixth art museum and you can’t really remember what you’ve already seen.
… you just plain don’t like art museums.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a gorgeous museum. The architecture is both beautiful and fascinating too, it’s a gem of a spot. But if you don’t value it, what’s the point of paying money to wander around hallways of really old stuff? That’s the point I’m trying to make.
I would also say that if you’re deciding between the Uffizi Galleries or the Vatican Museum in Rome, do the Vatican. Same for the Louvre – see the Louve, please. I might get kicked out the country for that last statement.
Is the Uffizi Combination Ticket Worth it?
The Uffizi offers a combination ticket that offers entry to the Uffizi, Pitti Palace, and Boboli Gardens. It’s one of those passes that save you money if you were already planning to do all three, but if you weren’t, it’s unclear.
The tickets for all three have high season and low season prices, as does the pass. At 19€, the winter (off-season) price is 100% worth – that’s a huge savings to see incredible art and rooms where history was made. In summer, the tickets run 38€, a significant bump but still cheaper if you were already planning to go to all three. It essentially makes the Boboli Garden ticket free. The main decision you have to make is if you are going to enjoy seeing two art museums in three days.
I will say that each of the three brings a different thing to the table: Uffizi is preeminent in art, Pitti Palace has recreated rooms that transport you back in time. and Boboli Gardens balances with the obvious outdoor element.
You can buy the combination ticket online in advance and skip the line, but you must pick the day and time of entry. Otherwise, wait in the ticket line for the Uffizi Gallery and ask for the Passepartout.
If you decide to buy the Passepartout, plan ahead a bit. You have three days to visit all three, and you must start at the Uffizi, which is closed on Mondays.
Still deciding if the combination ticket is worth the money? I’ll be sharing my take on the Boboli Gardens and Pitti Palace next week!
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