Florence Local Custom Tips by brendareed Top 5 Page for this destination
Florence Local Customs: 133 reviews and 155 photos
When you are planning your trip and looking for tickets, it can be rather confusing to know which are the reputable ticket dealers and which are the ones to stay away from. Some ticket agents seem to charge hefty prices and claim to help you avoid the lines. However, I prefer to use the official ticket site for whatever city I am visiting. For Florence, this is found online at www.FirenzeMusei.it. Purchasing online from the official site for the museums gives me a feeling of confidence should there be a problem when I arrive. At least I know where to find the museum for help – I’m not sure if the unofficial online ticket agent will be nearby to help out if there is a problem.
In the busy tourist season, it is a good idea to get your tickets in advance to avoid the long lines at the ticket windows. Of course, this means that you have decide your itinerary in advance; those who are of a more spontaneous nature may not like this plan. For those like me who like to have all the details lined up in advance, online ticket purchases are perfect!
The first museum of our class was full of sculptures by artists such as Michelangelo, Donatello, and Ghiberti - the Bargello.
The Firenze card is an attempt to make it easy for visitors to Florence to purchase one card and gain access to multiple museums. The primary benefit in crowded tourist season is that you may bypass the long lines and enter the museum through a special entrance.
However, in my opinion, many of these cards do not save you any money and may wind up costing you money. For example, the Firenze card is €50 and covers nearly 50 museums in Florence. However, you only have 72 hours from the time you enter the first museum to use it. Therefore, in order to make it pay for itself, you really have to rush to get to as many museums as possible in the allotted time. A quick adding of the museums we covered in our week long class that are covered by the Firenze card did not come close to covering the price of the card. However, there are numerous museums we did not enter that may be of interest to other travelers.
Below are the museums covered by the Firenze card (per the Firenze Card website Jul 2012):
Museo di Palazzo Vecchio
Museo Stefano Bardini
Palazzo Medici Riccardi
Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi
Museo Marino Marini
Museo Nazionale Alinari della Fotografia
Museo di Santa Maria Novella
Fondazione Salvatore Romano
Galleria degli Uffizi
Galleria Palatina e Appartamenti Monumentali
Galleria d'arte moderna
Museo Giardino di Boboli
Museo degli Argenti
Museo delle Porcellane
Galleria del Costume
Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Museo dell'Opificio delle Pietre Dure
Museo di Palazzo Davanzati
Museo di San Marco
Museo Nazionale del Bargello
Cenacolo Andrea del Sarto
Cenacolo del Ghirlandaio
Cenacolo del Fuligno
Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia
Chiostro dello Scalzo
Complesso Monumentale Orsanmichele
Villa Medicea di Cerreto Guidi e Museo storico della caccia e del territorio
Villa Medicea della Petraia
Giardino della Villa Medicea di Castello
Museo di Casa Martelli
Collezione Contini Bonacossi
Villa Medicea di Poggio a Caiano
Villa Corsini a Castello
Sinagoga e Museo Ebraico
Museo e Istituto Fiorentino di Preistoria Paolo Graziosi
Museo del Bigallo
Museo di Storia Naturale, Sezione di Mineralogia e Litologia
Museo Bandini di Fiesole
Area e Museo Civico Archeologico di Fiesole
Museo di Storia Naturale, Sezione di Antropologia ed Etnologia
Museo di Storia Naturale, Sezione di Geologia e Paleontologia
Museo di Storia Naturale, Sezione di Zoologia La Specola
Museo di Storia Naturale, Orto Botanico
Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica
You can also check out Florence’s official museum website for prices, admission times, and other details to help you determine if the Firenze Card is for you or not.
The Firenze card isn’t for everyone and, if you are only wanting to see a few things, especially in the summer when crowds are at their largest, consider purchasing your tickets online in advance.
photos - no photos - flash permitted - what to do
There is lots of fine art in Florence – in museums, in churches, in other buildings, outside. And there are lots of people that want to take pictures of this art.
Many places will permit you to take photos but without a flash. And that is with good reason – over time the constant flashes will damage the paintings. It would be the same as keeping the lights on it – over time, damage occurs. And we want these wonderful pieces of art to remain as is so future generations can enjoy them. And even if flash is allowed, if you don’t need to use it, then try to get along without it – think of it as prolonging the life of the artwork.
However, a number of places do not permit photography or videos of any kind – not cameras, not cell phone cameras, nothing, nada, zero. Please adhere to these restrictions. Many of the more well attended tourist attractions have guards that look for cameras – and they do not hesitate to call you out. I personally watched several people in our group have these guards come right up to them and get in their faces about taking photos.
Most places have a sign at the entrance that lets you know if photography is allowed, permitted without flash, or prohibited. If in doubt, ask.
Some of the places that do not permit photography at all:
Santa Maria Novella Church (okay in the cloisters)
Chapel of the Magi in the Medici Palace (the rest of the palace is allowed without flash)
San Lorenzo Church
Orsanmichele Church (although it was okay in the upstairs)
San Marco Museum (cloisters are okay)
Palazzo Pitti (outside in the courtyard and the gardens are okay)
Photography is allowed without a flash in:
Laurentian Library reading room and vestibule
Santa Croce Church and Museum
Photography with flash allowed:
most places outside
climbing up the dome of the Cathedral
Be mindful of other people in your photos – not everyone likes their picture taken. And try to take your photo quickly so you do not disturb others. Most places do not allow tripods, so you may not want to even bring one with you.
If you can’t take photos in the place you are in, just relax and enjoy the reason you came – to see the beautiful artwork and architecture in Florence!
I had planned ahead for specific photos, but I also planned ahead for a number of other things on my trip to Florence. Researching in advance and coming prepared with books, maps, and audio guides goes a long way to making your visit to Florence less hectic.
the Ponte Vecchio from Ponte Santa Trinita
As I planned my trip to Florence, I was hoping to get some good photos from various vantage points in the city. The weather, although wintertime, cooperated with me and we didn’t experience rainy days, although we did have some clouds so my photos didn’t always have the blue skies and fluffy white clouds in the background that I like so much. But the sun was bright when it was out and that usually worked to my advantage. Timing being everything with the sun, there were some things I just couldn’t control in order to have the sun at the right angle for my photos since I was following a preset agenda for the university course. Fortunately, there are so many great places to get photos in Florence, no matter where you are in the city you have opportunities for good photos.
Some of my favorite places for photos:
~ At the top of the Duomo. Okay, it meant climbing up the steps to the top of the dome, but it was worth it! We went around noon so the sun would be high in the sky, allowing me to take photos pretty much all the way around the top of the dome, both of the city and the surrounding countryside.
~From the Piazzale Michelangelo or San Miniato al Monte. Both are on the hill on the opposite side of the Arno River from the Duomo. This is THE place to get the city photos of Florence with the Duomo in the center. We were there in the later afternoon and the sun was perfect. After our tour of San Miniato, the sun had set so we were able to get the same photos with a night sky and the city lights on.
~The third floor of Orsanmichele can give you some interesting photos of the Duomo – you are almost level with the Duomo from this vantage point. The downside is that you have to shoot from inside a window and the museum is only open on Monday afternoons.
~For great photos of the Ponte Vecchio, head to the next bridge over, Ponte Santa Trinita. Day or night, the photos are beautiful from this location. I especially enjoyed the night photos with the reflection of the colored lights from the bridge in the river.
Of course, great photos are all around; just look around you and you’ll see photo opportunities. The secret is to enjoy taking the photos and to have some incredible visual reminders to go with the amazing memories you create while in Florence.
While we are on the subject of taking photos, let’s go over some tips for taking photos in the churches and museums.
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