Florence,  Italy,  Travel in Wanderland

Accademia and Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy

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No trip to Florence will ever be complete without paying a visit to two of the most prominent museums in Italy. We saved our last day for some art appreciation at the Galleria dell’Accademia (Accademia Gallery) and Galleria degli Uffizi (Uffizi Gallery), both located in Firenze’s Historic Centre. I booked our tickets in advance using the official booking website for both galleries.

We started our day with some croissants and coffee for breakfast at Konnubio, a nice cafe/restaurant near the hotel. The breakfast is actually included in the room reservation.

After breakfast, we headed out to the Accademia Gallery, passing by Piazza San Lorenzo and Basilica di San Lorenzo. It was a short 5-minute walk from the First Class Guesthouse.

Suggested Tour: Guided Tour of Florence with Fast Track Access to the Accademia and Uffizi Gallery

Galleria dell’Accademia

Official Booking Website: B-ticket
Ticket:
Full Price – €8.00
Reduced Ticket – €4.00
Online Booking Fee – €4.00 per ticket
Opening Hours: 8:15 AM to 6:50 PM (timed entry every 15 minutes)
The ticket office closes at 6:20 PM
Closing operations begin at 6:40 PM
Closed on Mondays, 1st January, 1st May, Christmas

*Be at the ticket office 15 minutes prior to the time of entry to claim the tickets.

Our timed entry for the Accademia Gallery was between 10:30 AM and 10:45 AM and the first thing we did upon arrival was to look for Accademia’s ticket office. I have printed our vouchers and need to have it exchanged for the actual tickets.

There’s a short line at the ticket office and I got our tickets in 5 minutes.

There are three lines at the entrance; for Non-Reserved (those without pre-booked tickets), Reserved (online bookings), and Group Tours. There was a very short line for the Reserved group, but it still took us about 10 minutes to get in because everyone has to go through security. If we didn’t pre-book our tickets, the end of the line for the Non-Reserved group goes around the corner of the Accademia, so imagine how long we would have waited in line. Once again, booking (and paying a little extra) in advance made a difference.

This is the souvenir/bookstore right by the entrance. If you want to rent an audio guide, this is where you pay, pick up and return the device. Make sure you have a photo ID ready. You would need to surrender it upon pick up of the audio guide and will be returned to you when you drop off the device and headset. A single audio guide is 6.00 and the double appliance is 10.00.

Travel Tip: One of the saving tips that we did when we visited museums in Paris back in 2016 was to bring an earphone splitter so two persons can share an audio guide. Most audio guides have a 3.5mm port which is compatible with most types of earphones and headsets. It’s pretty cheap considering the cost of renting an audio guide, normally from €6.00 up to €15.00 per device, from each museum you visit.

Giambologna’s masterpiece, The Rape of the Sabines is one of the most notable art pieces inside the Accademia Gallery. It is a plaster cast model, placed at the center of the Hall of Colossus. The marble sculpture can be seen right outside the Uffizi Gallery at the Loggia dei Lanzi, Piazza Della Signoria. It has been on display there since 1583.

Pontormo’s Venus and Cupid dates back to 1533. This is a copy of Michelangelo’s drawing of the same name, commissioned by Bartolomeo Bettini for his house in Florence.

The Pieta from Palestrina is attributed to Michelangelo but believed to have been completed by another master artist, Bernini. It has been on display at the Accademia Gallery since 1939.

Accademia Gallery’s most important art piece and probably the world’s most famous sculpture is Michelangelo’s David. Only a great artist like Michelangelo can create such beauty from an abandoned block of marble. You can admire David from all angles. There are even benches at the back where you can sit and take your time to admire his erm.. behind.

Being a dog-lover myself, I instantly loved this plaster cast model of a little boy and his dog.

We were too busy looking at sculptures and art pieces that I wasn’t able to take as many photos as I would have liked. Only when I started sorting through my pictures did I realize that I didn’t have that many to share on this blog post. Sorry!

After an hour and a half, we headed out on to the streets of Florence for some lunch. The Accademia Gallery is not that big, probably smaller than Musee d’Orsay in Paris so an hour is already enough time to spend inside the museum.

We passed by Palazzo Vecchio while looking for lunch options. Unfortunately, we did not go inside since we were pressed for time. But this is definitely on the must-see list while in Florence, so if you do have the time, make sure to visit!

We had lunch at a local cafeteria and spent the next couple of hours walking around the Historic Centre and bought some leather souvenirs (a must when in Florence). My husband bought a really nice leather belt which he refuses to wear for fear of damaging it. Hahaha! I also managed to try probably the best gelato I ever tasted which I, unfortunately, was not able to take a photo of. I completely forgot to even take note of the name or what street we were on. All that I can remember is that it is somewhere near the Geppetto/Pinocchio store, on a side street, in Via Della Condotta maybe according to the geotag of one of my other photos. I know it doesn’t help much and maybe my directions will lead you to a brick wall but I swear, THAT gelato is way better than Venchi’s.

Our timed entry for the Uffizi Gallery is at 3:30 PM. We went to the voucher/ticket exchange counter number 3 (in front of the entrance of the Uffizi Gallery/at the back of Loggia dei Lanzi) and there was no line so we were able to get our tickets right away. Actually, the voucher suggests claiming the tickets 10 minutes before the scheduled entry but we were there 20 minutes early and had no problem exchanging the voucher. Probably because it was not a busy time (there was a very short line at the entrance) and it was okay for them to just let everybody with a ticket get in.

Galleria degli Uffizi

Official Booking Website: B-ticket
Ticket:
Full Price – €12.00 (Low Season)/ €20.00 (High Season)
Reduced Ticket – €6.00 (Low Season)/ €10.00 (High Season)
Online Booking Fee – €4.00 per ticket
Our ticket cost was €12.50 (with special exhibition) + booking fee. The ticket prices I posted above were the new admission prices effective as of 1st Mar 2018). Low Season is from November through the end of February and High Season is from March 1st to October 31st.
Opening Hours: 8:15 AM to 6:50 PM (timed entry every 15 minutes)
The ticket office closes at 6:05 PM
Closing operations begin at 6:40 PM
Closed on Mondays, 1st January, 1st May, Christmas

*Be at the ticket office 15 minutes prior to the time of entry to claim the tickets.

The line to enter the museum using pre-booked tickets is Line 1 but again, there weren’t that many people on the other lines anyway. It still took us about 15 minutes to get through security and inside the Uffizi Gallery.

We start our exploration of the Uffizi Gallery by climbing a grand staircase all the way to the top floor.

Lukas Cranach the Elder’s painting of Adam and Eve (on two different panels) has been on Uffizi since 1704.

The Portrait of Bartolomeo Panciatichi is just one of the many art pieces of Il Bronzino housed at the Uffizi Gallery, with Hall #64 dedicated to his work.

The highlight of the Botticelli Halls #10-14 is Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. Venus, in this painting, is truly the Goddess of beauty.

The Annunciation was painted by Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea del Verrocchio around 1475. It has been housed in the Uffizi Gallery since 1867.

Also inside the Leonardo Room is The Baptism of Christ, which is attributed again to both Andrea del Verrocchio and his apprentice Leonardo the Vinci. It is one of the must-see artworks at the Uffizi.

This artwork by an anonymous Tuscan painter caught my attention. Not entirely because of the piece itself but because it was entitled as “Grotesque Banquet with participants in the 18th century interpreted (erroneously) as Luther, Calvin, and their wives“. I’m unable to find additional information about this piece, not even the back story or how it was found.

The Tribuna is an octagonal room in the Uffizi Gallery. Entry to the room is off-limits therefore you can only admire the art pieces behind the glass partition

Venus and Cupid by Tiziano Vecellio inside the Tribuna. Online sources such as Virtual Uffizi has this painting housed in the Tiziano Hall but I guess they move art pieces around especially if a Hall undergoes a renovation.

Unobstructed views of the Arno River and Ponte Vecchio from inside the Uffizi Gallery are magnificent.

A scale model of the Historic Centre of Firenze with the Il Duomo as the highlight is on display at the end of a long corridor in the museum.

This Hercules and Nessus sculpture attributed to Giovanni Caccini greets Uffizi Gallery visitors in the first corridor.

Judith Beheading Holofernes painted by Artemesia Gentileschi is probably the most brutal painting I have ever seen. This is actually the second version, with the first one housed at the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte in Naples, Italy. You can see anger, the rage, and perhaps the satisfaction on Gentileschi’s representation of herself as Judith, as she beheads Holofernes, representing her mentor Agostino Tassi, who was convicted in court for raping her. The eyes of Holofernes sees his inevitable death.

Painting of Gentileschi inside the Uffizi Gallery

Along with Gentileschi’s painting inside Hall #90 is Caravaggio’s great art piece, the Medusa. The terrified expression on the Medusa’s face is probably because of the beheading happening a few steps away, realizing that it would also be her fate. Just kidding! But yes, it was not a coincidence that both artworks are placed in the same hall. Caravaggio is a huge influence on Gentileschi’s work.

Accademia Uffizi

There are so much more art pieces that I wasn’t able to take a photo of. Uffizi Gallery is much larger than the Accademia Gallery and you need at least 2 hours to fully enjoy the art pieces in this museum.

I highly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance for both the Accademia Gallery and Uffizi Gallery for it would save you lots of time, especially if you’re visiting during High Season. Although I have to say, B-ticket‘s website is not that user-friendly. I would advise using a computer or a laptop instead of a smartphone when booking.

Guided tours are also available through Viator.com and Klook and if I were to recommend a high-rated but value for money tour, I would suggest booking this Accademia and Uffizi Gallery tour. What’s good about this guided tour is that the Accademia Gallery tour is in the morning and the Uffizi Gallery tour is in the afternoon. If you try to book a walking tour (or a visit to a third Florence landmark such as the Florence Cathedral) together with your visit to both galleries, your time to enjoy both will be very limited. They have a schedule that they follow meaning, most probably you will only get to spend an hour or two on the first gallery, strictly following the tour guide, exit the museum and then on to the next part of the tour. Much like what happened to us when we had our Vatican Museums tour, we were not able to go back into the Vatican Museums since we had to exit and go to St. Peter’s Cathedral. Re-entry is not allowed. You won’t have the time to enjoy the gallery on your own after the guided tour.

This Viator tour includes entrance fees to both the Accademia and Uffizi Gallery, Skip the line access, and your local guide. I would skip the lunch-included option and just eat on your own. If you’re on a budget or not a big fan of tour groups but would still want to hear the history of the art pieces as you walk around the museum, an audio guide is your best option. This can be rented at each of the museums.

Another option for those who are also visiting Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens is to purchase a combined entry with the Uffizi Gallery. The ticket is valid for three days and allows one priority entrance to each place for €18.00 during low season and €38.00 during high season. There’s also an annual pass available but unless you live in Florence, or somewhere nearby, you won’t be needing that.

We left the Uffizi Gallery a few minutes before 6:00 PM and went straight to First Class to pick up our luggage and walked to the Firenze Santa Maria Novella Station, where we had our dinner and waited for our pre-booked 7:52 PM train (€43.00/pax). We were on a constant lookout on which platform the train will use and the information board was only updated when the train actually arrived (and not a few minutes before). We had about 8 minutes to haul our luggage, run to the platform and board the train. Lucky for us, the train wasn’t full so we were able to sit together. Nobody even checked our tickets. We were back in our Airbnb apartment past 10:00 PM.

I never considered myself as an art lover but having been given the chance to experience and see masterpieces in person has certainly made an impact on me and awakened my curiosity about the arts, its history, artists and more. I feel that one does not need to know art to learn how to appreciate art.

Sources:

Official Accademia Gallery
Accademia Unofficial Guide
Official Uffizi Gallery
Virtual Uffizi – Unofficial Guide

Check out the rest of my trip using the links below. I have also listed some Florence Travel Essentials you can book in advance for a better travel experience.

Florence Hop-On Hop-Off City Sightseeing Bus Tour
Eurail Global Pass (Flexible Days)
MyWebspot Pocket Wifi Rental – I have personally used their services before and they are great especially their customer service!

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David in Accademia Gallery and The Birth of Venus in Uffizi Gallery


This blog post is Day 8 of my Italy Travel Diary Series, To read about the rest of my trip, click on the links below:

Day 1: Arrival in Rome – Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps
Day 2: Colosseum and Roman Forum
Day 3: Vatican City (Papal Blessing/Angelus) and the Historic Centre of Rome
Day 4: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and Square
Day 5: Naples Bus Tour/Pompeii Tour
Day 6: Arrival in Florence – First Class Guesthouse/Historic Centre of Firenze
Day 7: Barberino Designer Outlet
Day 9: Last Day in Rome – Night Views of the Colosseum and Castel Sant’ Angelo

Rome Airbnb Review: Spanish Steps Luxury Apartment
Sample Rome/Florence Itinerary: Rome for First Time Visitors
Rome, Italy: Photo Gallery
Florence, Italy: Photo Gallery


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