Home to some of the world’s most treasured medieval and Renaissance art, Florence is a dream destination for art-history enthusiasts. From paintings and frescoes to the statue of a certain naked man, the city is chock-full of art. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few of the can’t-miss sites.
Uffizi Gallery (Gallerie Degli Uffizi)
Located on the northern side of the Arno River in central Florence, the Uffizi Gallery houses works by Michelangelo, Caravaggio, da Vinci, and Botticelli (including The Birth of Venus), to name just a few. Ancient statues and other works from the collection of Florence’s Medici family are also on display. An absolute must for those interested in Renaissance art, it’s one of the top museums in Italy, if not Europe—a skip-the-line ticket is highly recommended.
Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell'Accademia)
Often visited in combination with the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia Gallery is Florence’s other major art museum. A 15-minute walk north of the Uffizi, on the other side of the cathedral (Duomo), the Accademia is best-known as the home of Michaelangelo’s David, an icon of Renaissance art. The gallery’s collection of 13th- to 16th-century paintings by mostly Italian artists is a must-see for art-history buffs. Skip-the-line tickets are advisable here, too.
Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti) and Boboli Gardens (Giardino di Boboli)
A former home of the city’s ruling Medicis, Florence’s largest museum complex sits just across the Ponte Vecchio on the south side of the Arno. Various museums and galleries are housed within the grounds, and Renaissance statues dot the landscaped Boboli Gardens behind the palace. Old masters such as Raphael, Titian, and Rubens are on display, but you can also see more-modern works of art from the 18th to 20th century.
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo
Located in Piazza del Duomo, just behind the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo features original artwork and other items from the cathedral. For those interested in learning more about the Duomo or who just want to see more art, visiting the museum after you visit the Duomo provides additional insight into the city’s most significant landmark. Works include Michelangelo’s mysterious Florence Pietà (aka The Deposition) and Donatello’s Penitent Magdalene.