Here are a few tips on how you can maximize your visit to the Uffizi Museum in Florence.
First, if at all possible, try to visit first thing in the morning before the monstrous crowds arrive, this will allow you quite peaceful viewing for at least an hour or so. Otherwise, try to visit later in the afternoon when the crowds begin to thin down. We’ve heard this approach can work but have not tried ourselves.
Second, bring smaller notes to pay entrance fee, if you arrive early. We recently found that they don't carry change for 50 Euro notes at the ticket counter early in the morning and couldn’t even manage to change a 20 Euro note when we were buying a 16 Euro museum guide from inside (unbelievable). So make sure you’ve some smaller notes or coins when you arrive.
Third, go ahead and buy a museum guide for the Uffizi. Remember, this place is huge with two long wings and well over 50 gallery rooms filled with lovely, interesting and important art works. No Florence guidebook will have enough pages dedicated to the Uffizi to be able to explain the wonderful things you are about to see in enough detail. We made this mistake years ago during one of our first visits to the Uffizi. Now, even as repeat visitors, we suggest getting the nice Uffizi museum guide to help see you through the museum. You will enjoy your visit much more.
Fourth, unlike the Vatican (Rome) and the Louvre (Paris) where you can decide to purchase a museum guide or book at different points of your visit, you don't have this option at the Uffizi. You buy at the beginning or the very end as you are herded through the gift shop and out the door. So, if you are even thinking you might need a guide book, better pick it up before you enter the viewing area.
Fifth, at the end of the 2nd floor, in the left wing, you will find a café, an excellent place to take rest and use the toilet, just downstairs from the café. They have an outdoor area that affords some nice views of the city (a nice surprise), don’t hesitate to pop out the door for some fresh air and a view before heading back in to see more of the Uffizi rooms.
Sixth, wear some comfortable shoes. While there are a few benches to take seat and rest (or view the artwork), if you are visiting with the crowds, you might be pressed to find a seat. You’ll be glad you had good walking shoes if this happens.
Last, why not mix art with science? If you feet are holding up, why not walk 3 minutes towards the Arno River, where you see Ponte Vecchio (bridge) and visit the excellent Museo Galileo, Institute and Museum of the History of Science as well. Here you will see many of the old scientific instruments and devices that were once housed in the Uffizi building. We combined these two museums during our recent visit and felt they complimented each other very well, making a nice pair!
Overall, the Uffizi is probably one of the very finest collections in the world. Just keep in mind that there is a lot on display and it can be difficult to know how/where to begin. Best to just follow the room number chronologically and work your way through the museum. Some masterpieces, such as The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, one of our very favorite paintings in the world, should not be missed. Others you will just come to love or hate, like the two-sided paintings of the Naked Dwarf by Bronzino. Lastly, The Uffizi is the best museum and collection in Florence, should be on everyone’s To Do list.
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