The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most famous museums in the world, and with over 1.5 million visitors each year, it is the most visited museum in Italy.
The Gallery occupies the first and second floors of the large building, constructed between 1560 and 1580, designed by Giorgio Vasari. It is famous worldwide for its outstanding collections of ancient sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages to the Modern period. The collections of paintings include some absolute masterpieces: Giotto, Piero della Francesca, Beato Angelico, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Mantegna, Correggio, Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo and Caravaggio, in addition to many precious works by European painters (mainly German, Dutch and Flemish).
It certainly is a “must do” if you visit Florence, but be sure to plan your visit properly!
Here are the 7 things you must know.
1 – Opening times and days
The Uffizi Gallery is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8.15am to 6.50pm.
The Museum is closed on Mondays, on January 1st, and on Christmas day.
Note that closure starts from 6.35pm, and the ticket office closes at 6.05pm.
2 – How to avoid long lines
Lines to the ticket office can be extremely long, especially during holidays, during the weekend, and during Summer. Try to avoid peak season, and if you can schedule your visit in the middle of the week. Arrive at the ticket office early in the morning, before opening time, or at lunch time and in the early afternoon, and you’ll find shorter lines.
The best way to avoid lines is to book the tickets in advance, on the Official web site.
Booking is optional and charged (currently 4€ for each ticket), but enables reducing waiting times, skipping the regular line for tickets completely.
Pre purchasing tickets, you can choose a specific date and time for your visit. You will receive a confirmation email: with that (either printed, or on your smart phone or tablet), you can collect your admission ticket at a specific office (Door 3 – Reservations).
You can book tickets by phone, calling +39 055294883. The operators answer also in English. The service is available from 8:30am to 6:30pm, from Monday to Friday, and from 8:30am to 12:30pm on Saturdays. By phone, after choosing day and time of your visit, you’ll receive a booking code. With that code you’ll pay and receive your tickets at the specific office for reservations (Door 3).
You can also pre-purchase your tickets to visit the Uffizi Galleries at the following ticket offices in Florence:
– Door 2 at the Uffizi (pre-sale service). If there are queues, then it is better to go to other sales points;
– Ticket office at Pitti Palace, at the National Archaeological Museum of Florence (Piazza della Santissima Annunziata 9b), at the Orsanmichele Museum (Via de’Calzaiuoli);
– Ticket offices in all the State museums in Florence, like the National Museum of Bargello (Via del Proconsolo 4).
3 – Free entry
Children under 18 years old enter for free. You must show passport or id card to prove your age and get the free admission ticket. Note that children younger than 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
In Italy most Museums, and the Uffizi Gallery, are free on the first Sunday of each month. To get the free tickets you must go to the ticket office, and it is not possible to book tickets on this day (so expect large crowds!).
Here you can find other details on the categories of visitors entitled to free admission and reduced tickets: free-and-reduced-tickets.
4 – How many time you need to visit
The Uffizi Gallery is huge. You can’t see everything in less than a couple of days. But you don’t have to see every single piece of art. Choose what you are most interested in, before you go to the museum, and you can enjoy the major masterpieces in about 2 hours. Here you can find a list of the artworks.
5 – What is forbidden
All visitors, of course, must comply with the common rules of good manners: don’t run, keep your phone turned off or in silent mode, don’t eat or drink in the exhibition area (there are specific points where you can do it), don’t smoke, don’t throw garbage on the floor, don’t touch the works of art, keep your voice down, don’t walk barefoot, don’t write on the walls…
Backpacks, bags, umbrellas and other large objects must be stored in the cloakroom prior to entry. Storage is free. You must pass a security check to enter the museum.
It is also forbidden to use flash photography, and to take photographs or videos using selfie sticks, lightstands, tripods or any kind of professional equipment. You can still use your phone or camera without flash.
6 – Specific itinerary for blind or visually impaired people
“Uffizi by touch” is a tour specifically conceived for blind and visually-impaired visitors. At the moment it includes about 20 artworks. Visitors will be provided with a pair of disposable latex gloves with which they are allowed to touch the selected sculptures. Near to the artwork are panels written in Braille, both in Italian and English.
Visitors with visual impairments can enter for free, upon presentation of adequate documents. Booking for the tour “Uffizi by touch” is mandatory.
7 – The new system to cut lines
Soon it will be available a new system to shorten lines or eliminate them completely, without purchasing the tickets in advance. The visitor will get a voucher from an interactive kiosk, located under the Uffizi loggia, with printed the best time to visit the Gallery without lines, later in the day. The suggested time of entry is calculated on the basis of a statistical data model, considering the average visit time of tourists, the weather, the number of accesses, and other parameters monitored and compared with historical data. The algorithm maximizes the capacity of the museum respecting its structural constraints.
In this way you’ll be able to start the tour in the Uffizi at the scheduled hour, easily spending the time before your visit in other museums or walking around the city.
The method was tested in full operation for the first time on the last Sunday of free access to the Museum in high season, traditionally a day of critical influx of people: more than 7,500 visitors showed up at the Gallery, and everyone entered without waiting in a queue.
The system will soon be available every day, even on the free Sundays, during which it is not possible to book a ticket.