Once in Florence, visiting a few of their multiple museums is a must. There are so many mind blowing castles turned to museums that it would be ludicrous not find your way into at least a couple. Most of Florences wealth birthed from the wealthy banking family,The Medici family. Much of Florences artful taste was a result of the family's exquisite love for art. Many of the Castles were homes for the Medici family whom they hired artists to sculpt, draw and paint to decorate the walls and fill the spaces with historical monuments. Thrown back into a history book, you will find yourself walking through the age of The Renaissance.
To get the best bang for your buck for museum entry, try the Firenze card which gives you access to 72 museums, in 72 hours, for 72 euros. Good luck in trying to do them all, but you can certainly visit more than just one or two. Some are adjacent to one another and a few are across town. You may wonder, "Is the Firenze card worth it? There's no way I can visit that many museums!" The nutty and curious Travel Hogz definitely experimented with the pro's and the cons of the Firenze Card.
Pros of The Firenze Card
For the most part, the cost to see museums is between 10-25 euro which isn't too bad if you are only visiting a couple. However, if you want to see more especially the main attractions, you could end up paying over 72 euros. The Firenze Card is great for the price if you are up to visiting 5-6 museums per day. With a little planning prior to starting, you will have made up your money and then some. The Hogz were able to visit a total of 21 museums which included: The Uffizi Gallery, the climb to the top of the Palazzo Vecchio Tower over 400 stairs (amazing experience overlooking Firenze), The Palazzo Pitti (which contains the beautiful Boboli Gardens, and 4 others), Frederick Stibbert museum (a bit away from the main town center via bus but highly recommended), and much much more. You can buy your card and the 72 hours begin once you walk into the first museum. Once you walk into the first museum, the countdown begins.The Firenze Card also grants you access into five other museums related to the climb of the Cupola. You must obtain one ticket yet another ticket office not inside of any of the attractions and then book your climb (at a kiosk) that will grant you access to the Duomo, the Crypts, St. John’s Baptistery, the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo and the climb of Giotto’s Campanile. These also activate once you walk in to the very first museum and allow 72 hours to see them all.
Cons of The Firenze Card
Yes you may save some money by getting the Firenze Card however it does have its downside. When you purchased the Firenze Card they tell you that you can go to the front of the line at the museums. This is the case however in some cases. A few of the museums we were able to walk right in. But there were others where we have to stand in a line and that was the VIP line. There's still a wait but not as long. another pitfall of the Firenze card is the assumption that the actual card is a ticket for entrance into each museum. WRONG! This is not the case. Once you are ready to start your museum hops, you must go to the museum of choice, go to it's ticketing office and obtain a ticket so that you enter the museum. The ticket office is often located in the opposite direction of the museum entrance. Although you don’t have to purchase the tickets, running from one spot to another eats up some of your day by running around finding each ticket office for each museum to get a ticket so that you can enter the museum. You're probably fatigued just reading about it! This part is extremely confusing it just does not make sense. Your Firenze Card should be the entrance ticket. You shouldn’t have to go to any other location to get a ticket and return to the entrance of the museum. Everything should all be in one place.
Survival Tactics to Endure 6 days of Walking,Climbing and Staying Motivated to Finish.
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate before during and after your trip to the museums. Take your water and make sure you relieve yourself of any heavy equipment because there is a lot of walking and climbing stairs. Unless you are the super athlete or the fitness guru and in your 20's, getting up early three days in a row walking between 7 to 8 miles total will have you in lots of pain if you’re not hydrating and eating properly. Also, be sure you are carrying change because, in Italy in, general it's least one euro to use the public bathroom. In Florence, in particular, there really aren’t any public bathrooms so the best way is to order a refreshing drink or a snack at a restaurant and use their toilet.
Getting to the museums are fairly easy even if you are't staying in the heart of town. Although the ATAF transit systems run throughout the city, the metro rail is much easier to understand and has trains as often as every 5 minutes. It drops you at t the main train station which is downtown where most of the museums are. You will then have close to a 10 minute walk to most of them. Buses will bring you closer to the middle of downtown but, unfortunately, have a different agenda. The bus you need could run every 20 minutes and you will see the same bus lines of other buses pass you several times before yours shows up. The inconsistency of the buses is quite frustrating, so if you can, avoid taking the bus. They don’t follow the schedule that is given to them so you have no idea when they are coming.
Overall the Firenze Card is a pretty good deal and recommended if you plan ahead and know what to expect.
Download the app which doesn't navigate properly and limited pictures, but has brief descriptions about each museum and notes the most popular which makes choosing easier. The Hogz were able to visit 21 museums in 104 hours due to the extra 72 received from the Cupola attraction. Here is a handful of the museums of choice.
Uffizi Gallery - One of the most popular attractions in Florence. Construction began in 1560 for Cosimo I de' Medici by Giorgio Vasari. It houses some of the worlds most prominent works of art from Michelangelo. Some dating back to the 13th to 18th century.
Palazzo Pitti - The palace was bought by the Medici family in 1549 and is noted as the main residence of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Towards the end of the 18th century, Napoleon nessleted in and made the palace a power base which later served as the royal palace for the newly united Italy. Today it also is one of the most visited museums due to is beauty and mass collection of luxurious treasures. Here you will find the lovely and breath taking Boboli Gardens and other museums combined.
Palazzo Vecchio (climb to the top & visit the museum)
Frederick Stibbert Museum