Top 10 Art Museums and Art Galleries of Florence
Florence is all about art. There are literally scores of monumental art collections throughout the city – housed in more than 60 art museums and galleries – enough to overwhelm even the most seasoned tourist-cum-art aficionado. So where, you might ask, should one go to see art in Florence? Well, here are the top 10 art museums and galleries in the Renaissance city, which have among the best and richest offerings.
Galleria degli Uffizi is Florence's largest and most famous art museum. In 45 rooms in two galleries, the East Gallery and West Gallery, together with Vasari's Corridor, it showcases monumental collections that cover virtually every art movement throughout Italy and Europe, from the Tuscan primitives and Florentine gothics to Renaissance art, Impressionism, Baroque and even more contemporary works. Among the masterpieces here are Botticelli's Birth of Venus and Titian's notorious Venus of Urbino. There are also scores of Roman sculptures in the corridors to add to the interest. The gallery is located at Loggiate degli Uffizi 6. Admission fee: €8.50.
Galleria Dell'Accademia is the second most-visited art gallery in Florence, after the Uffizi (above), It is most famous for the seven Michelangelo sculptures it has in its collection: David, the most recognizable, and St Mathew, Pieta di Palestrina and four incomplete Prigioni (prisoners) that were meant to adorn the papal tomb. Among the museum's fabulous collection of paintings are works by Benozzo Gozzoli, Uccello, Boticelli, Filippino Lippi, Fra Bartolomeo, Perugino, and others. The museum is located at Via Ricasoli 60. Admission fee: €8.50.
Florence's National Museum, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, has been housed in the 13th-century fortress-like Palazzo Bargello since 1859. The museum is notable for its superb collection of Renaissance sculpture, which includes works by Ghiberti, Donatello (Niccolò da Uzzano, Marzocco, Cupid, David, St. George), Brunelleschi (panels from the Baptistery doors), Verrocchio, Ammannati, Cellini (Bust of Cosimo I), and Giambologna (Florence Defeating Pisa and a bronze Mercury). There are also works by Michelangelo, including his first major sculpture, the drunken Bacchus, created at the age of 22. The museum is located at Via de; Proconsolo 4. Admission: €8.50.
Palazzo Pitti, located on the Piazza Pitti, is one of the best places in Florence to visit museums, for the palazzo houses a series of outstanding museums, including the Galleria d'Arte Moderna (Gallery of Modern Art) and Galleria Palatina (see below), and the Porcelain Museum. Besides which, the Giardino Boboli (also known as the Boboli Gardens), which are packed with sculptures from all ages, are located just behind the Piazza Pitti and are well worth a visit too.
Galleria d'Arte Moderna
Galleria d'Arte Moderna (Gallery of Modern Art) has a supremely varied collection of Romantic, Neoclassical, Impressionist and Renaissance art, as well as post-Renaissance Florentine art. The gallery is devoted to works from the 19th century on, particularly those of the Macchiaioli art movement (the Italian face of Impressionism). Admission: €8.50.
The Galleria Palatina houses the second-most important art collection in Florence, after the Uffizi. There are over 500 pieces of Renaissance art here. Among its treasures are several of the best works collected by the Medici and Lorraine dynasties, particularly those by 16th-century artists. There are six main rooms where you can see these: Venus (which has masterpieces by Titian and Rubens), Apollo (works by Titian, Pietro da Cortona, Rosso Fiorentino and Andrea del Sarto), Mars (Raphael, Rubens, Pietro da Cortona), Jupiter (Pietro da Cortona, Verrocchio, Bellini, Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, Fra Bartolomeo), Saturn (Pietro da Cortona, Raphael, Perugino, Andrea del Sarto) and Illiad (Raphael and Andrea del Sarto). Located on the Piazza Pitti. Museum admission: €8.50.
Palazzo Vecchio Museum is housed in the historic, fortress-like Palazzo Vecchio, and the main reason to go there is to see the splendid frescoes - there are literally scores of them here – depicting the history of the Medicis, mostly added by Vasari. There are other works of interest here too, among them Michelangelo’s Genio della Victoria. Palazzo Vecchio is located on the Piazza della Signoria.
6. Gallery of the Spedale degli Innocenti
Gallery of the Spedale degli Innocenti (Gallery of the Massacre of the Innocents) was designed by Brunelleschi and built in 1444. The statue at the front of the museum is by Giambologna, depicting Duke Ferdinando I. The gallery's focus is on Medieval and Renaissance art, with an excellent collection of frescoes dating from the 14th to the 18th centuries. Among the prominent works at the gallery is Domenico Ghirlandaio's Adoration of the Magi. However, the principal attraction here is the museum building itself, which marks the beginning of Renaissance architecture. The gallery is located at Piazza SS. Annunziata 12, and can be contacted at 0552-491708.
7. Duomo Museum
The Duomo Museum is located near the Cupola Duomo (cathedral), and houses Brunelleschi's models for the cathedral. It also has a worthwhile collection of paintings and sculptures, including such notable works as Michelangelo's Pieta and Donatello's La Maddalena (circa 1455). The museum is on the Piazza Duomo.
8. Museo di San Marco
Museo di San Marco is housed in a 14th-century monastery, located near Galleria Dell'Accademia. The focus here is on early Renaissance paintings by Fra Angelico. In fact, the museum houses the largest collection in the world of Beato Angelico's art. There are other artists' works of Renaissance art here as well. The museum is located on San Marco square.
9. Horne Museum
The Horne Museum is one of several private art galleries in Florence, showcasing collections of private art collectors. This one is devoted to the collection of English art critic and collector, Herbert Percy Horne. It's an eclectic collection of paintings, sculpture, carpets, furnishings, and household items. Among the highlights are Giotto's St. Stephen, Bernini's Angel's in Glory, sculptures by Giambologna and Desiderio da Settignano, and a series of 14th-century Florentine and Sienese works. The museum is located at Via de' Benci, 6, and can be contacted at 0552-44661. Museum admission: €4.
10. Museo Archeologico
Museo Archeologico is devoted to Etruscan art and Roman and Greek sculptures. Exhibits depict Etruscan civilization. Many of the pieces are from the coveted Medici and Lorraine collections. There is also an Egyptian museum here. The museum is housed in the 17th-century Palazzo della Crocetta, located at Via della Colonna 38.
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