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Florence Museums Q's

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Feb 21st, 2014, 08:02 AM
  #1
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Florence Museums Q's

I trying to decide on how to best schedule visits to Uffizi Gallery and Academia Gallery.

Is it feasible to both on the same day? Or would it be better to do each one on a separate day?Approximately how long would you expect to spend in each one? Mornings or afternoons?

We have 3 full days in Florence and I am just trying to get an idea on the best way to visit these 2 museums.

Trip is last week of March.

Thanks
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Feb 21st, 2014, 08:32 AM
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The Uffizi is huge. My daughter and I spent seven hours there, over two separate days, and didn't see everything we wanted to see. However, for many people an hour there is half an hour too much. (One poster on Tripadvisor said that after he'd seen ten Madonnas, he'd seen them all.) It all depends on how interested you are in Italian Renaissance painting.

The Accademia is much smaller; I've never been there, but I believe most people go just to see Michelangelo's David, which should be a pretty short visit. Since Michelangelo's sculpture isn't my favorite type of art, I haven't felt any urgency to see that. However, I'll be going there sometime this year.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 08:48 AM
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I have done both in one day during a day trip into Florence, so it is doable. It depends on your interests and how you choose to spend your other days in Florence.

At the Accademia, in addition to "David," you can also see Michelangelo's "Prisoners" and an exhibit on medieval musical instruments. I skipped the Accademia on my last trip, but my cousin spent about 1.5 hours there, enjoying the musical instrument hall.

The Uffizi will probably take longer (at least 1.5-2 hours) but that depends on your interests and stamina. I have learned to not stop at every piece of art in a museum but rather, stop and study those works that interest me.

Definitely make reservations for both. We did the Accademia in the morning, had lunch, then did the Uffizi in the afternoon.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 09:28 AM
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The Uffizi is an incredible museum but, similar to the Louvre, it is difficult to appreciate in one visit. After visiting 3 times over a 10-year period, I vowed not to return. Two hours in a museum is about my limit but the Uffizi is normally so crowded that you can't move very fast. I am always tired when I leave. If you can manage it, 2-3 hours is about what you will need.

The Accademia, on the other hand, is easy to see in less tha an hour. We normally spend about 40 minutes just to appreciate the David. I go back there each trip and am thrilled anew.

I think I would do them on two separate days depending on what else is on your agenda for Florence.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 09:34 AM
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I love the Uffizi - but you can be burned out in about 2 hours. I always go first thing in the AM - that gives you a chance to beat the hoards off the tour buses. For the A - I really like the David - but not a whole lot else.

One place we LOVED was the Pitti Palace - that a lot of people never get to since it's across the river. Wonderful - and much less crowded.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 10:01 AM
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All such great info! Thanks. I think we will do them on different days, in the mornings. That way I don't have to guess how much time in each one.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 10:57 AM
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DebitNM, we visited Accademia late one afternoon, at about 5pm. By that time the tour groups and the bulk of the crowds are gone, it was a really nice time to visit. We queued to get in for 10 mins max and inside the gallery wasn't crowded st all.

Btw don't let anyone persuade you that the copy of David in the Piazza Della Signoria is as good, it isn't.

Make sure you head out for a stroll (passagiata) in the evenings, I think Florence is at its' most beautiful in the evenings.

I love Florence, I hope you do too.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 11:00 AM
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DebitMN--It IS a matter of what you want out of the Uffizi.

We were totally emotionally invested before our visit in studying the evolution of Renaissance Art. The Uffizi (so unlike the Louvre*) is beautifully organized to present that "story".

We had an opening hour reservation, and we spent three productive hours there with one coffee break. We could have spent more, but by then, the crowd started bugging us. I think we relied on a Cadogan guide for this portion of our time in Florence.

Note: Our hotel, The Hermitage, was right around the corner, and upon our returning to it late in the afternoon, we always noted that the lines had diminished to nothing by then. We often thought about going back, but there was so much "secret" art in Florence we wanted to see that we did not. But do think about a later arrival as a timing option if your time is crunched.

The Accademia is not near as taxing, no matter what your interest. You could walk in, just see the David, and feel rewarded for visiting Florence. I think we spent about two hours there, but we could easily have spent far less.

But we came back! It just so happened that "free museum week" began four days after our first visit to the Accademia, so we'd do our other museum-gelato-museum-gelato trails in the a.m. and then late in the day, pop in again to get another look at The David to see if we reacted the same way. We always did.

I know everyone loves the Pitti Palace. For us, it was just OK. I have no clue why we reacted that way.

However we were so happy we spent time at the Museo Bargello, and it would be an easy "combine" with the Accademia since it's more or less a ten-minute walk away. Not near as broad in scope as the Uffizzi, it still presents the Renaissance art story well. It had Davids by Donatello and Verrocchio, several works by Michelangelo (I can still envision the chisel marks on his unfinished Pitti Tondo), and amazing sculptures by Giambologna. I think this is the place where we finally "got" Della Robia.

Another underappreciated museum with masterpieces is the Duomo Museum. Again, you can certainly pick and choose here, just dashing in to see what you want to see. You could only study the diagrams and models of Bruneschelli's dome if that's your wish. I headed straight for Donatello's wooden Mary Magdalene (awesome) and Michelangelo's unfinished Pieta. This museum was practically empty, and you could tell that the guards there were very happy that we loved it.

Boy, a flood of memories are coming back, but with your short visit, I shall stop here.

Good luck planning.

*Re Louvre: I really don't think the Louvre is disorganized; it's just so overwhelming, and it always has some elevator or stairway that's closed to totally confuse anyone who isn't there to make a beeline for the Mona Lisa. The family joke is that no matter how many times we've visited the Louvre (20 times?), we ALWAYS somehow end up, against our wills, in Mesopotamia.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 11:09 AM
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We were totally emotionally invested before our visit in studying the evolution of Renaissance Art. The Uffizi (so unlike the Louvre*) is beautifully organized to present that "story".

Ditto. When I saw that first Giotto--in real life, a Giotto!--I nearly cried. So I can spend many happy hours in the Uffizi.

I'd visit the Accademia on a separate day, perhaps paired with a visit to San Marco, which is nearby.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 12:09 PM
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All good answers here. The Uffizi is pretty much all Italian, all the time, in chronological order.

There is not enough Quattrocento Italian painting in the world to satisfy my lust, so I spent four hours or so just on the series of galleries on the left, medieval and earlier Renaissance painting. It was so well arranged as to be a revelation. For example, one Botticelli, ho hum. A room full of Botticellis, including the Birth of Venus and preceded and followed the art that Botticelli knew and the art of those who knew Botticelli will just knock your socks off, even with the school kids and tourists with their guides.

Then I poked around in the High Renaissance and Mannerist galleries looking at the stuff Remembered in my art history classes, but I can't pretend that I did more than skim it, thoughI took an hour. I will go back one day for those and the sculpture galleries.

There is a coffee and snack bar up on the roof overlooking the city where you can refresh during this viewing orgy.

I spent an hour at the Accademia basically memorizing the David to see how it works. It was enough.

The lines for both are endless in prime hours, so I would buy timed tickets. But you could, as reported, go the the Accademia late in the afternoon and walk right in.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 12:23 PM
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Leely2--A fellow believer!

I promised I'd stop to keep from overwhelming dear Debit, but yes, I LOVED San Marco--what a wonderful way to sense the artist that was Fra Angelico.

The various churches may have been some of our favorite ways to "soak it in" some of them had no crowds. We did run into people at the Brancacci Chapel, but there was not a soul to be found Sant'Apollonia to see Andrea del Castagno's Last Supper.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 12:50 PM
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I think most people don't leave the first floor of the Accademia (there are upper floors). I've never had to stand in line more than a few minutes by going in the afternoon (as long as you have cash - separate line for credit cards).
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Feb 21st, 2014, 04:32 PM
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Yes, San Marco. Wonderful. Uncrowded, at least before noon. What a contrast to the Accademia and the street outside.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 05:34 PM
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If you decide to do a ferry trip down the coast do watch the schedules carefully. The ferries start fairly early in the day but don't run at night - the latest are in late afternoon or very early evening. If you have dinner the ferry back won;t work - you will need to take a taxi.
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Feb 21st, 2014, 09:26 PM
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We were there last October, and opted to visit one on each morning, pre-booking tickets for the first sessions of the day, 9.30am. It was not crowded at that time and so we really enjoyed both museums. Like NYtraveler, we absolutely loved Pitti Palace, and were surprised that it does not get the coverage it deserves in the guide books. Definitely worth visiting. We also really enjoyed Palazzo Davanzati - once again not so well-known, and therefore a more intimate experience of a wealthy family's villa, beautifully preserved. But be aware it closes at 2pm each day.
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