Are you planning a trip to Florence, Italy sometimes soon? If you’re anything like me then you want to fit in as much as possible during your stay. That’s why we purchased the Firenze Card for our 3-day visit. The Firenze pass is particularly suited to 3 day stays as its valid for 72 hours. However, if you’re staying longer don’t let that put you off as you can still use it for 3 days and plan your other days around it.
Is the Firenze Card value for money?
So, before I get all excited about using the card, how much does will it cost you? At the present time, the Firenze card costs 85 Euros per person. You might think that’s quite expensive. However, before you decide, I’ll tell you why I think the Firenze Card is such good value. Firstly, It gives you entry to pretty much any museum in Florence that you’ll likely to want to visit. Certainly all the major museums. If you’re in Florence chances are you’re planning on visiting some art galleries. No problem, with the Firenze Card you get entry to these two as well as gardens, churches, villas and palaces. It’s quite a collection.
Presently, the Firenze Card includes entry to 76 different attractions in Florence. Now, you’re not going to be able to see all of them in 72 hours. I’m not sure that’s even possible but anyway you can’t enjoy seeing that many places in 3 days. Fortunately, you don’t need to exhaust yourself to get value for money from the museum pass.
Visit the Uffizi Gallery.
First, let’s look at the price of the two star attractions in Florence, the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery. A visit to the Uffizi Gallery will cost you 20 Euros. If you want to combine that with a visit to the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens (trust me, you will) you can buy a combined ticket for 38 Euros. This combined ticket is valid for 3 days and includes one visit to each museum site.
You will get priority access with these tickets but you do need to specify what day you plan on visiting and book a specific time slot. Although I love to draw up a daily schedule when I travel, I do like to keep things flexible. I do it because then I don’t miss out on things I desperately want to do or see. On the other hand, there’s nothing I hate more than having to rush out of one museum or gallery because I’ve got a booked time slot at another one.
The Firenze card really scores well for me on this point as it still allows you priority access but without the need to specify a particular day or time. Not only do you get the flexibility to alter your schedule as you go but you still get the priority access as if you’d booked ahead. How great is that? Uffizi tickets are actually cheaper from November to February but even taking that into account, I think the Firenze Card is still tremendous value for money.
The Accademia Gallery.
Now, to the Accademia Gallery. The home of Michelangelo’s David and a must-see for any art lover in Florence. If you buy a single ticket you will pay 12 Euros. Like the Uffizi, you need to specify a day and time for this. When I last visited in November 2018, you could just turn up and priority access was included. It still is but they’ve changed the rules for Firenze Card holders and now you must ring or visit the museum to book a slot. If you’ve visiting at a busy time of year then you may well wish to do this. However, you can still visit the Accademia with your Firenze Card at any time. You’ll just have to join the queue with everyone else.
How’s the Firenze Card looking so far?
If you travel between March and November and visit the Uffizi Gallery, Boboli Gardens, Pitti Palace and Accademia Gallery you’ll spend 50 Euros per person on tickets. You can save a bit on that in winter when the total cost is only 33 Euros. Keep that in mind as we look at what else there is to see and do in Florence.
The Duomo Complex
The first place I wanted to see when I arrived in Florence was the Duomo (Italian for cathedral). It’s an iconic structure right in the historic centre of Florence. You can’t miss it! The museum complex consists of 5 attractions, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, The Baptistry of San Giovanni, The Crypt of Santa Reparata and the Opera Museum. One ticket gives you access to all 5 sites and it’s actually great value for money at 18 Euros.
You get access to all 5 sites with the Firenze Card too although there is no priority access here so you still need to queue. You also need to go to the museum ticket office and show your Florence Card to get a paper ticket for the Duomo complex. This is pretty simple to do though.
Climbing the Dome
If you are really keen to climb the Cupola (Dome) then you do face a potential problem if using the Firenze Card. Despite the fact that access to the dome is included you need to book a specific time slot. If you buy a ticket online for the Duomo complex you can book this slot online. Unfortunately, if you are using the Firenze Pass you have to make this reservation at the museum ticket office. You can do this either at the ticket desk or by using one of the automatic kiosks.
Regrettably, these slots get booked up very fast in the main tourist season so you might find there are none left by the time you can make your reservation. When we travelled in November, this wasn’t a problem but it is important to realize that this could happen. If climbing the dome is a priority for you then you may need to consider buying a separate ticket for the Duomo Complex. However, you do not have to climb the dome within the 3-day validity of your Firenze Pass. You do need to book during that time but you can reserve a slot for up to 6 days later. This works great if you are staying in Florence for longer but it can be a problem if you’re only staying a few days.
The Palazzo Vecchio
The Palazzo Vecchio Museum & Tower is another must-see attraction in Florence. Tickets cost 10 Euros for the museum or 14 Euros if you want to climb the tower.
At this point, if you’re visiting all my must-see major attractions, the ticket total is 82 Euros. So, perhaps you don’t think the Firenze Card is very good value after all. Hang on a minute though. You’ve covered the main sights but is that all you want to do during your time in Florence?
Visiting all the headline attractions makes sense and it’ll give you a great introduction to the city but there is a lot more to see in Florence. If the thought of visiting another museum, art gallery or church makes you feel exhausted by all means stick to booking single tickets. However, I’m sure you’ll want to make the most of your time in Florence. We fitted in quite a few more sights in 3 days and I’m sure you can too.
The biggest advantage of having the Firenze Pass is that you can pop into a museum or gallery just to see if it interests you. You don’t have to evaluate whether it’s worth the ticket price or worry that you might not enjoy it. Show your museum pass, walk on in, take a look around. If you’re enjoying it then stay. If not, move on to the next one. For me, that’s where the Firenze Card really pays for itself.
We visited the Galileo Museum straight after the Uffizi Gallery because we walked past it on our way to the Ponte Vecchio. Galileo is someone I find really interesting so I’d have paid to see this even if we didn’t have the pass. Entry without the card is 10 Euros.
The Opificio delle Pietre Dure Museum
The Opificio Delle Pietre Dure Museum is near the Accademia. Here, you can see works of art created with semi-precious stones. It’s a small museum but the mosaic work is amazing. Without the card, it costs 4 Euros per person.
The San Marco Museum
If you visit the San Marco Museum just to view the amazing building you’ll get your money’s worth but don’t leave without seeing some fabulous Renaissance art as well. Tickets cost 4 Euros.
Dante’s House Museum
Anyone who has read Dan’s Brown blockbuster novel, Inferno, will be familiar with the name Dante Alighieri. This is not the original home in which Dante was born but it is built on the site and contains some fascinating insights into the man and his family. Tickets are 4 Euros each.
Franco Zeffirelli Museum
This wonderful little museum is near the Palazzo Vecchio. It showcases the myriad works of Zeffirelli. I found the film posters fascinating. There are also lots of opportunities to watch videos and don’t miss the amazing Inferno room at the end. Tickets are 10 Euros.
Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology
This museum wasn’t on our list but it is just around the corner from the Duomo complex and we kept passing it so we decided to go in and take a look. It’s full of curiosities from all over the world and is definitely worth a visit. Tickets are 6 Euros.
Bardini Villa and Gardens
This amazing villa has beautiful gardens which were a delight to visit even in November. Inside there is an extensive exhibition of contemporary and modern art. We found it on our walk down from the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens and are so glad we detoured inside. Tickets are 10 Euros.
Should you buy the Firenze Card?
These are the sights we visited during our 3 days in Florence. There are many more to choose from but we felt that we packed in as much as we could without compromising on quality time at each place. We also took time to relax and drink the delicious Italian coffee, did some people watching and spent some time in the spa in our hotel. So, it’s a full itinerary but it’s comfortably achievable.
Since we visited in November, the tickets would have cost us 107 Euros if we’d paid individually. If you visit in summer you’d pay 124 Euros. In short, the Firenze Card saved us 22 Euros. Visit in Summer and save 39 Euros. However, it’s not just about saving money, it’s about flexibility. Popping into an extra museum if you fancy it without any extra cost. Taking a quick look inside an art gallery just to admire the building without having to pay an extra admission fee. In addition, priority access to the Uffizi Gallery is valuable in itself.
Enjoy more flexibility with the Firenze Card
We loved the flexibility of using the Firenze Card and thought we got excellent value for money. It comes with a handy map and they even give you a waterproof case on a lanyard to carry it all in. If you prefer an app on your phone that’s an option as well.
You can buy the Firenze Card online before you arrive in Florence. If you want the smartphone app you just download it to your phone. It activates the first time you scan it for entry to one of the museums. Or just take your receipt and exchange it at one of the sale points in the city. We bought ours in advance and picked it up at the office opposite the station. Like the app version, it activates the first time you use it. Be careful if the first thing you do is book a Dome climb as this also activates your card.
Firenze Card add ons
If you buy the Firenze card there are some extras you might like to consider. The Firenze Card + can only be purchased with the main card and adds unlimited public transport for 72 hours. It costs an extra 7 Euros. We didn’t buy this as we only visited attractions within walking distance of the historic centre. There are sights further away though and if you want to visit these you might like to consider adding this.
If you’re staying for more than 3 days or coming back to Florence again within 12 months you can purchase the Restart option. This allows you to add a further 48 hours to your Firenze Card. Unlike the original Firenze Card, you must use this on a smartphone. This is a new option but is ideal for those who want more than 72 hours to enjoy Florence. The Restart costs 28 Euros so is very good value indeed.
Children go free
You do not need to buy tickets or a Firenze Card for your children if they are under 18. They can enter the state museums like the Uffizi Gallery for free anyway. For other museums show your Firenze Card and your children can still go free. They may need to pay a 4 Euro reservation fee at some of the museums otherwise visit the ticket desk to receive free tickets for your under 18s.
Where can you buy the Firenze Card?
You can buy the Firenze Card online before you leave home. Just take your receipt and some id and collect your pass at one of the sales outlets in Florence. Alternatively, just buy one in person at any outlet. Take a look at the official Firenze Card website for full details about the card and where to purchase it.