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BOOKING MUSEUM TICKETS
Florence's two most popular museums are undoubtedly the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery and both require advance bookings in peak season to avoid hours of waiting in line to enter the museums. Florence's other museums and sights DO NOT require reservations.
Booking directly with the museums costs 4 euro plus the price of the ticket, which is 6.50 euro (or 11 euro during times of special exhibitions).
There are two ways to book tickets: online and by telephone.
Booking online has many more cons than pros:
*If you wish to book online, take care that you use the official website. There are lots of other websites, some with 'official sounding' names, offering tickets but these will all add their own booking fee, which can sometimes be quite substantial.
If booking online via the official site (address below), you have to pay immediately with credit card when booking and many, many people experience difficulty paying by credit card or being charged and not receiving the confirmation email (quite possibly because of over efficient spam filters!) with booking number, which is essential to pick up your tickets; there are significantly fewer times available online for booking.
When booking by telephone there are many more pros:
It is quick and easy (there is an English option); you speak to an actual human being; you do not need to pay upfront, you simply reserve your timed entry with a booking number; there are many more times and dates offered by phone than online.
For these reasons, booking by telephone is highly recommended.
The OFFICIAL Florence museum ticket buying website is:
This is run in partnership with Firenze Musei (http://www.firenzemusei.it), the official body of Florence's State Museums (which include both the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries)
To book either museum by telephone with Firenze Musei: +39 055 294883 (take into account the time difference when phoning from overseas). The ticket reservation office is open until at least 5:30pm local time during the week, possibly later. The ticket reservation office is closed on Sundays.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE BOOKED TICKETS
If you have booked your tickets, you will have received a booking number - this is essential information and your tickets cannot be picked up without this number.
At the Uffizi Gallery, you collect your reserved tickets at Door #3, under the West Portico of the Uffizi courtyard. You should collect your tickets approximately 15 minutes before your reserved entry time and they now (eventually) accept credit cards (if you did not book online where you would have paid by credit card if it worked successfully). With your tickets, you can then enter the museum directly through Door 1, for reserved ticket holders.
At the Accademia, you collect your reserved tickets at the office opposite the museum (51, via Ricasoli) and then go to the entrance further from the Duomo which is for reserved tickets.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON MUSEUM TICKETS
There are two cards which can offer considerable savings if you wish to visit a number of museums during your stay and both mean that you do not have to book in advance for either the Uffizi or the Accademia - you can 'skip the lines' and just walk straight in.
THE FIRENZE CARD
This is a fairly new card, which at time of writing, costs 72€ and is valid for 72hrs. The card offers free admission to many museums, churches and other attractions as well as unlimited public transport within the city. When one considers that a visit to the Uffizi and Accademia when both have a special exhibit (which is most of the time) will cost 30€, it is easy to see how economical this can be. For full details, visit the website: http://www.firenzecard.it/index.php?l...
THE AMICI DEGLI UFFIZI (Friends of the Uffizi) CARD
This costs 60€ for one person and 100€ for a family card (two adults and two children) and is valid for a calendar year, which makes it particularly useful for those in the city for more than three days or lucky enough to visit Florence more than once a year. It does not cover as many places as the Firenze card, nor public transport, but does include the 'star' attractions (Uffizi, Accademia, Bargello, San Marco Museum, Medici Chapels amongst others). Unlike the Firenze card, you are allowed to visit any of the included places as many times as you wish, so you can, for example, visit the Uffizi for an overview and then return another time for a more detailed visit or to spend more time in particular rooms.
For details: http://www.amicidegliuffizi.it/en_hom...
Please note that you need to show ID when using the card (although many of the museums don't bother to check this) and a photocopy of a passport is acceptable everywhere EXCEPT at the Accademia, which requires the original document.
If you wish to visit Santa Croce Church (6€) and the nearby Casa Buonarotti (6.50€) you can buy a combined ticket for 8.50€. Similarly, a combined ticket for Palazzo Vecchio (10€) and the Brancacci Chapel* (6€) is available for 8€.
*You need to book for the Brancacci Chapel (055.276.8224 or 055.276.8558) although outside the peak periods it is often possible to go straight in
PRICES ARE CORRECT AT TIME OF WRITING, BUT ARE OBVIOUSLY SUBJECT TO CHANGE)