Hi we have 3 days in Florence in early September. If we were to only visit one museum, which would you choose? I heard David is a copy, not the real sculpture which is hidden away. Also any comments on Pitti Palace would be appreciated. Thanks! Judi
The Uffizi , without question . The David is not hidden , it is inside , and magnificent , but the surfeit of riches in The Uffizi is beyond compare !
Uffizi for me too. Incredible collection.
I heard David is a copy, not the real sculpture
'Fraid you got some fake news there, Judi. Michelangelo's "David" in the Accademia is the real deal. The one in front of Palazzo Vecchio on Piazza della Signoria - where the real one stood for 350 years - is a copy.
If you are really into art, I'd go to the Uffizi. Missing that one wasn't an option for us. If your tolerance for museums is short, go to the Accademia: it's smaller and doesn't take as much time to see.
Pitti Palace: I found this one to be the most challenging of the 3 to take in, compounded by the fact that it was overly warm in the galleries. The works in the Palatine Gallery were not grouped by style or era, some were hung too high to be easily viewed, and while it's an impressive collection, 28 rooms of it (plus the other galleries) finally got the better of us. We're glad we did it but enjoyed San Marco and the Bargello more than that one. If time is a factor but you can squeeze in an additional museum, I would do either of those two instead.
Well, I might disagree -- depends on how much interest you have in art. Uffizi is extensive and marvelous, but if you only want to spend an hour in a museum, then seeing David and the "trapped" statues might be just the right amount of art.
Or avoid the lines and see the heavenly Fra Angelico murals at Sam Marco.
EDIT Evidently posting at the same time as Kathy.
Uffizi if you love art. If you want a faster museum because you're not museum people generally, Accademia.
If you love art, both. We did them pretty much back to back. It's a lot of art, because the Uffizi is DENSE. Like 3 painting stacked vertically in some rooms. But the Accademia is a bit more spaced out, after you get through the hoard at the front waiting to see the real deal David. Which is something to see in and of itself.
I love art but not necessarily Renaissance art. I did find the Statue of David stunning. Where on earth did you hear that the David is a fake, from Donald Trump?
We did both in one day, but we didn't spend a huge amount of time in the Uffizi. We had a guided tour of the highlights of the museum plus an hour or so on our own to see whatever specific pieces or styles of art interested us. I am glad I didn't miss it even though I didn't see everything of importance that was there - I do have a limit to how long I can spend in a museum in one visit. I absolutely loved the Academia; the David and the other Michelangelo sculptures are unbeatable. I like all art so would have been hard-pressed to choose between them. I know others who really prefer sculpture to hanging art works and they only went to the Academia for the Michelangelos. It depends a lot on what art you like and are drawn to and how much time you want to spend but both are worth the effort.
Thanks everyone! Such great info. I didn't think my friend had the correct info on David, so glad we can see the real deal! We will take all these suggestions into consideration, but leaning to Academia. Awesome forum info on so many topics. Love Rick Steves and the network of travelers!
Also great info on San Marco. Will research that. Thank you!
When I was in Florence, I was able to go to both. No regrets
Had someone put a gun to my head to pick just one, I would have chosen to see David and hope I would some day make a second trip to see the Uffizi
The Museo di San Marco is on the same street as the Accademia, a short walk away. Easy to do both in one morning or afternoon.
The Accademia has a painting gallery upstairs, and a musical instruments section as well.
There are at least a half dozen copies of Michelangelo's David in Firenze. Try not to look at them, although the one in Piazza della Signoria will give you an idea of where it originally stood.
The Academia does not have to be a big time commitment--you could have a perfectly good visit in an hour or so. Michaelangelo generally does not resonate with me like Raphael for some reason, but his David is beyond amazing. I don't know what else you have planned but why not do both that and the Uffizi? For me the Uffizi was a four hour plus visit but I like to linger. If I had to choose then the Uffizi. I visited those and also the Pitti Palace about eight months ago. The Pitti Palace has a lot of less famous Raphaels and lots of Andrea del Sartos. I thought it was fine but not up to the standard of the other two.
The Museo di San Marco is on the same street as the Accademia, a short
walk away. Easy to do both in one morning or afternoon.
Excellent point, Zoe. It has some goofy hours so for planning ahead...
Admittance time: Weekdays: from Monday to Friday: 8.15 am - 1.50 pm; Saturday: 8.15 am - 6.50 pm; open on the first, third and fifth Monday of every month; the ticket office closes 30 minutes before the museum closing time.
Holidays: 8.15 am - 6.50 pm; 8.15 am - 6.50 pm: January 6, Easter, Easter Monday; April 25; June 2; August 15; November 1; December 8 and 26; open on the second and fourth Sunday of every month; the ticket office closes 30 minutes before the museum closing time.
Closed on: first, third and fifth Sunday of every month; second and fourth Monday of every month. December 25, January 1, May 1. -
Here's a peek at some of the Fra Angelico's.
Thanks Kathy, excellent information on opening hours, and the murals are beautiful. We will make time for that visit as well.
They really are very special! Look for his famous "Annunciation" at the top of the stairs leading to the monk's cells.
Do just a bit of reading about Savonarola and his bonfires of the vanities before you go? It's an important bit of Florentine history, and you'll see his cell among the others in the convento.
Not to nitpick, but the San Marco works in the friars' cells are frescoes.
I think the gallery does have the famous picture of a nude woman
standing is a seashell that is on all those tea towels.
Keith, you made me laugh to the snorting point!! But you are dead on: that nekked lady on the shell is Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" and one of their star attractions. Still, when it comes to Florence, I think "David" wins the prize for "Most Popular Naked Person On Tea Towels". I swear, His Buffness is slapped onto anything remotely possible to slap him on.
And whichever you choose, be sure to get your ticket in advance and don't waste precious time standing in line.
I remember getting my Academia reservation at San Marco on one trip, and on another my hotel got my tickets weeks in advance of my visit.
Thanks Keith, Kathy et al. Tongue in cheek I think Keith. I might even buy me a tea towel!
I have a pair of ridiculous underwear with the naked guy on the front. Pretty sure it came from Florence.
You're gonna be in Florence. See them both over the Pitti palace.
Academia is small and would easily take less than an hour.
Use RS audio guide for both.
We also loved the Bargello, even the teens liked it. Again, RS audio guide was great.
There's some good advice in this thread!
One thing I would add is selecting a museum also depends on how much you (and your group) enjoy art. I love art, but my other half does not love visual art nearly as much as I do. So on our trip together to Florence, we did the Accademia to see the David, the Prisoners, etc. When I went back to Florence on my own, I did a much longer tour of the Uffizi.
While my other half would have politely enjoyed touring the Uffizi with me, I think that this arrangement worked out better for us. But again, we have very different levels of enjoying art.
Gosh I forgot about the Bargello, thanks Kimberly. That's where Donatello's bronze statue of David is. I loved seeing that and the other works in the Bargello, especially the Della Robbia glazed terracotta pieces. Another museum that doesn't take hours to see.
Also, the Bargello was practically deserted compared to the other sights. Quiet and cooler place to visit, fewer people, yet still central. AND RS has a great audio guide.
I can't say it enough--those RS audio guides with the app made everything we visited more meaningful and interesting. Even our teen girls enjoyed them!
One more vote for Bargello! When we were in Florence last year, we did the Academia and skipped Uffizi. Partly because we were only in town for one day and I'd seen it in the past. But we also skipped the Louvre in favor of the Orsay and Orangerie in Paris last week. I'd also been there eons ago. I'll personally save the big museums for when I have a week in a city.
I guess I feel there's SO much great art in Europe that unless you are a very serious art lover where museums are you top priority and you'd happily spend a full day in one of them, it's sometimes nice to skip the crowds in favor of other activities and still see so much beautiful art. (We enjoyed a lovely apertif in the rooftop bar at Hotel Cavour---with views for miles-- after Academia, for example. Highly recommended.)
The Bargello was nearly empty and provided a cool retreat on a hot day and the statues are incredible! Crazy that there was no one there in May.
Yep, we loved the Bargello, and especially so as it was blissfully uncrowded. We spent more days in Florence than many are able to do so got to hit that one, San Marco, the Uffizi, Accademia, Pitti and a great group of churches. Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, very close to San Marco, on my favorite piazza of the same name, has some wonderful frescos not to mention it's just across the piazza from Brunelleschi's lovely Ospedale degli Innocenti:
(don't use this for ticket prices)
For most current hours/prices (in Italian only):
Basilica della Santissima Annunziata:
I know, I know...it's so hard to have to choose what to miss when you only have so much time!