Even if the gallery’s website is sold out of tickets, you’ll be able to find them on other websites, so browse a bit and don’t give up.
You can’t visit Florence without seeing some fantastic art, even if you don’t step foot in a museum. Just a stroll down any cobblestone street in the city center is bound to lead you to a sculptural or architectural masterpiece. However, while you’re in the city that is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, you don’t want to miss out on all the art this city has to offer. Even if you’re not an art history buff, the visually stunning and technically influential art in Florence will amaze you. And if you’re already obsessed with art, this will be a great starting point for what is sure to be the art exploration experience of your dreams. So whether or not art is your passion, these recommendations will give you a deeper appreciation for Florence, and, undoubtedly, art itself.
1. Galleria dell’Accademia
The first piece of art most people think of when they think about Florence is Michelangelo’s David. It is a stunning sculpture, and no matter how many photographs you have seen, I guarantee it will blow you away when you see it in person. You absolutely cannot leave Florence without seeing David, so buy your tickets online ahead of time to avoid the perpetually long line! Note that even if the gallery’s website is sold out of tickets for a given day, you’ll likely be able to find them on some other website, so browse a bit and don’t give up.
2. Galleria degli Uffizi
This gorgeous gallery is a masterpiece in and of itself, and you could dedicate an entire day to exploring all the magnificent art it has to offer. However, I know there’s a lot to see in Florence, so if you don’t have all the time in the world, make sure you see Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. This beautiful painting is truly breathtaking, and its impact on the worlds of art and literature makes it all the more special. Other famous masterpieces in this gallery include La Primavera by Botticelli and the Ognissanti Madonna by Giotto. Be sure to get your tickets online for this gallery as well, because nobody has time for lines when there’s so much to see!
3. Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
This museum is located just steps away from Florence’s landmark Duomo, and you can buy admission tickets as part of a package that also allows you to climb the Duomo and Campanile, enter the Baptistery, and more. I would highly recommend taking the time to peruse this sleek museum, as it is full of fascinating history about the history and construction of the Duomo and Cathedral. Additionally, this museum houses the original Gates of Paradise by Ghiberti, which are a pair of spectacular gilded bronze doors with panels featuring extraordinarily detailed scenes. These doors were originally part of the Baptistery of Saint John. You will also find Donatello’s Penitent Magdalene, his hauntingly beautiful wooden sculpture, in this museum.
4. Brunelleschi’s Dome
It’s difficult to spend much time in the Florence city center without catching a glimpse of the Duomo, which has essentially become one of the most recognizable symbols of the city itself. However, I urge you to take a while to admire the Dome itself up close, because its construction was an incredible feat of artistry and engineering. Brunelleschi’s Dome still fascinates architects today because nobody is exactly sure how Brunelleschi was able to create a dome of that shape and height with the materials that were available to him in the early 1400s. At the time Brunelleschi designed it, it was the largest dome in the world. This momentous architectural feat definitely warrants appreciation—and maybe a climb to the top if you’re daring!
5. Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy (map)
This large piazza is a hub amidst many shops and eateries, and it is home to the Palazzo Vecchio, essentially the city’s town hall. It also boasts a great deal of sculptural masterpieces. The Fountain of Neptune, designed by Bandinelli and featuring the sculptural works of Ammannati and Giambologna, is a must see, especially at night when its water is illuminated, creating a magical glow. You’ll also find the Loggia dei Lanzi, also known was the Loggia della Signoria, in this piazza, which is an arched, open-air gallery of sculptures. Seeing such important sculptures in the daylight, without any fancy lighting, is a unique experience that allows you to appreciate the art in a more natural, uninfluenced way. Among these works is Cellini’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa and the original Medici lions sculptures.