Booking Museums in Florence

From the archives: tips for museum visiting in Florence. Booking ahead and avoiding crowds

To book or not to book is a difficult question for the visitor to Florence. As discussed on our Florence home page, the greedy entrance charges can hurt the visitor’s pocket even without the booking charges slapped on by the museums. The idea is that if you book your museum tickets in advance then on arrival you can bypass the queues, head straight to an ‘advance booking’ desk, collect your tickets and enter.

Our experiences of visiting Florence in March and late April: Keen to save money, we didn’t book anything in advance. We arrived at the Uffizi as soon as it opened on a Sunday morning and found no queue to get in. However, there was a small queue at the desk for bookings made in advance(!). First thing in the morning the Bargello was nearly empty. At the Accademia, visited in late morning, there was a short queue on the street as visitors were allowed to enter in batches. We waited about ten minutes. The only other queue we encountered was at the Palazzo Vecchio, where security screening of visitors and their bags meant entry was rather slow. Again, we waited about ten minutes – and booking in advance wouldn’t have applied here. Other travellers who visited in the summer months have reported much worse delays than those we experienced, however.

If you are anxious about queueing for museums, or travelling at a peak time, then by all means consider paying the extra in advance. If you book in Florence, directly with the museums, you will pay their ticket price plus booking fee. If you book tickets or tours beforehand, through a company like Viator or Weekend a Firenze (check adverts for offers), be warned, you are liable to pay a significant mark-up. But you may well feel it’s worth it to guarantee the smooth running of your holiday.

Obviously the experience of booking/not booking varies greatly. Do any readers have any experiences to share? Did you book, and did you feel it was worth it? If not, did you have to queue? What month/day of the week/time did you visit? We would love to print some different experiences to help future visitors.

For more advice and tips on visiting museums and monuments in Florence, see our tourist attractions page.

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