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"Must-see" art in Florence

Every guide book has an endless list of "must see" art in Florence. My daughter will tolerate about 2 museums/places before she's on her cell phone, listening to her I Pod or tuning everyone out in general.

What 2 places do I drag her to?


Posted by
37 posts

Thanks for the input. This a mother-daughter 7-week bonding experience and we're trying to equally pick places/events that we want to experience. I think Florence is my time and she'll just suck it up as I've sucked it up with her horseback riding lessons around Barcelona (I should be able to hang on, right?)

Posted by
1317 posts

I don't know how your budget is, but you could consider a tour for the Uffizi. Having someone tell you the background history about the art is a lot more interesting than look at 40 Madonna with Child paintings.

The Uffizi is probably not one to be missed if you can help it at all. It is big and has an immense collection, but you can speed things up by being selective at where you stop to look. I'd ask her to tough it out for your sake and celebrate with a gelato afterwards. There's a shop in Rick's book not too far from the Uffizi (near the Ponte Vecchio, but before you reach it) that has somewhat pricy, but DELICIOUS gelato.

Posted by
7724 posts

I would say that the Academia is at the top of the list to see David. It is a relatively small museum so in addition to seeing one of the most recognizable works of art in the world, she won't get too bored seeing the rest of the museum. The Uffizi would be the other obvious choice, but if she is not very interested in paintings, it could get long. Otherwise, the Duomo and other churches are quick, step in, look around and be on your way as you wander the city, plus lots of art out in public.

Posted by
8882 posts

Most likely her cell phone won't work in Europe. That said seeing David and either the Bargello or the History of Science Museum might work before she tunes out.

Posted by
1167 posts

If you have to "drag her to" places" maybe you should let her select the places she wants to see. You may decide that she would be happier staying home and in that case you would be happier without her.

Posted by
10344 posts

The Good News: Her cell phone won't work in Europe and, if you forget where the plug adapter is, she won't be able to figure out how to charge her iPod. The Bad News: Sounds like the Uffizi isn't for you, not with her along.

Posted by
2030 posts

I would check out what's at the Uffizi, the plaza Signoria is wonderful to hang out in. Walk to the Ponte Vecchio stroll the shops -- and there will be tons of shopping on the way, which might interest your daughter. Walk to the Duomo. Touring the Pitti Palace -- particularly the gardens if you don't want to do another museum, might be fun.

Posted by
118 posts

I agree with the Accademia and the Uffizi, with the Bargello as a backup if the Uffizi sounds too tiring.

The Accademia, with Michelangelo's David sculpture, is small and can be visited in an hour. It's fun to watch the people watching David -- it's almost as much a social scene as an art museum, so it's hard to get bored there.

The Uffizi is the best painting museum in all of Italy, I think. Incredibly beautiful works of art. But it is large, dim in some rooms, and the lines can be really frustrating. If you love Italian painting, it's still a must. If you prefer sculpture, or if two hours of shuffling crowds sounds like it would send your daughter over the edge, then the Bargello is a good backup choice. It is an all-sculpture museum with an open-air courtyard in the middle, so it's more refreshing than the Uffizi. We were in and out in an hour.

Also, just want to remind you that Rick has GREAT audio guides of many sights in Italy, including the Accademia and the Uffizi. They are available for free download off the website. His commentary is fun and holds your attention, and you can listen to it on any mp3 player, thereby satisfying the iPod need. :-)

Have a wonderful time on your mother-daughter trip!

Posted by
261 posts

Both my art bored teenagers loved the Rick Steves audio guides. Especially for the Uffizi. He talks about 1 or 2 great painting in each room. My kids also enjoyed the Duomo museum. The real Ghiberti doors are there as well as some info on how Brunelleschi built his famous dome. My kids found the Pitti Palace art overload, but loved the gradens. Go to the Market near the Medici Chapels, stroll around the stalls and have some lunch. My kids were fascinated with all the pasta,olives, and whole chickens. I agree with the previous post, let her decide some things. We watched lots of travel videos before we went. Sometime just sitting in a Piazza eating gelato is the best memory.

Posted by
43 posts


(1)The Accademia, she can't miss Michelangelo's David and while I love the Uffizi, I must say that the (2)Bargello has earned a special place in my heart. I think your daughter would like the Bargello because it doesn't 'look or feel' like a museum; it's really very unique...also, there's a variety of artifacts in addition to the glorious sculptures.

Posted by
586 posts

She'll never forget "David" at the Accademia...such an iconic image, she'll see it the rest of her life and know that she "was there!" I would also keep architecture in mind: a walking tour of the historic center may be more interesting to her than pieces on display in a museum: in situ, as they say. The Duomo (climb Brunelleschi's dome for the view, inside of the dome's construction, and outside, over Firenze), Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio...these can be experienced for kids in a tangible way. Just one idea. Rick Steves' Italy gives great suggestions for walking tours, only abouy e25 pe person.

Posted by
109 posts

I am always interested in questions or comments that involve kids and Italy because 6 of my 7 trips there have been with kids. And I hope for more, although my son is almost 21 now. Still have a teen daughter.
How old is your daughter and how long will you be in Florence.? I also have "dragged" my kids to museums in Italy, Paris and here in US. It is my "duty" as a parent and hope they will truly appreciate their good fortune someday.
My son is a science buff so he enjoyed Museo della Storia della Scienza-- includes Galileo's finger. My dtr. I would prob not recommend that one for your daughter though. My daughter still refers to Piazza della Signoria in Florence as the Piazza of the Naked People (for the statues). She was only about 8 or 9 at the time but that is how she remembers it.
All of Italy is an open air museum so some culture will be absorbed no matter where you go.

Posted by
37 posts

Hmmm. Maybe the architecture tour? Keep her moving -- and tired. So, David for certain then I'll get creative.