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Top sights in Florence
Palazzo Vecchio is one of Florence's premier museums, where you can explore many different layers of Italian history since Roman times.
Although only accessible from underground - the Palazzo was built directly on top of it - the ruins of a Roman theater testify to this building's age.
At 95 meters tall, this tower is the definitive symbol of Florence and absolutely the best place to take your pictures of the city's charming buildings.
There's more to the fortress than the Tower. Construction of the fortress began in 1299 under Arnolfo di Cambio. Today its battlements and sturdy stone structure symbolize political potence from times gone by.
This was built as the grandest room - originally intended to serve as the seat of the Great Council. Now it serves as the centerpiece for anyone's visit.
The maze of chambers with artwork and decorated ceilings by Michelangelo, among other prominent Renaissance artists, is not to be missed - you won't have seen anything like it quite on this scale!
If rain is in the forecast, access to the Tower of Palazzo Vecchio will be suspended for safety reasons.
Winter opening times for the tower are limited compared to summer (or high season), so if you're visiting between October and March, make sure to get there early in the day.
The way to the top of the tower is 418 steps, so don't attempt to climb if it may put your health at risk - there is no elevator.
On sunny days - and even when the sun's behind a cloud! - it's important to cover up with sunscreen. And even more so because you're nearly 100 meters closer to the sun!
- When should I visit?
- Open October - March, 9:00AM to 7:00PM. April - September, 9:00AM to 11:00PM. Special opening hours on Thursdays from 9:00AM to 2:00PM.
- Is it expensive?
- Museum admission: 10euros. Tower and Battlements: 10euros. Discount available for students.
- Will I need a guide?
- Free to explore on your own or find a guided tour and receive insight into the many layers of history present.
- How to get there
- Located in the center of Florence at the Piazza della Signoria.
- Additional information
- As a top sight for Florence, be prepared for a bit of a wait to get in. If you get the Firenze card, you can skip the lines and get to the front.
- The steps outside the museum serve for a perfect spot to rest before or after your visit and take in prime Florence people watching and occassional street performances in the Piazza.
What people are saying about Palazzo Vecchio
The Plazzo Vecchio is a beautiful building, well worth seeing, but be careful of which tour you select. The Museum Tour is different than the Tower Tour. If you want to see the inside of the building and a few artworks, select the Building Tour. If you want to get on the battlements and climb the tower take the Tower Tour. We waited through a long line for the Tower tour only to find we had Museum tickets and we could have walked right in to the Museum. The entrances are at the same point at the top of the stairs and there is no person or signage to explain this. The artworks in the Museum are not really worth seeing, especially compared to the Uffizi, but the Building itself is beautiful, especially nice is the Council Room. The Audio Guide we rented was worthless. The touch screen doesn’t work well, hard to use and confusing to operate. Plan on 1 hour for each for the Museum and Tower Tours. If you actually listen to the audio guide plan on 3 hours for the Museum Tour.
We visited Palazzo Vechio. Our tour guide called Alla made our experience very interesting. Very friendly and knowlegable young lady. She is very professional and she has also good sence of humor. You will learn a lot of new interesting facts about the life of the Medichi family, the architecture of that palace and other buildings, about the Florentine Republic, sculptors, artists, politics and the competitions between the nobel families etc. You can never get bored with such a good guide. Her English is very good and she doesn't overload you with too much information. We also asked some questions and she wss happy to answer them.
The purchase on line is very easy de then you avoid the fraud and queuing. The staff was nice and friendly and the guide ok. The strange things is that we could not easily indetify the place you are listening on the guide as the letters you get into the tabled is not miroered by a letter in the room you are visiting. When I complained about this situation the staff explained to me this is quite a « special »muséum joking.
Maybe overpriced for what is offered (but this is Italy) but had a good time. Basically is an evening out to have a drink and snacks with other people and then a short tour at the end. Tour guide was super friendly and had a good time. Told some good stories and was patient with people snapping photos and having fun but the walk itself was rather short.
We learned a lot with Alla who was also very kind. She did not count her time and answered to all questions. We Highly recommend this tour with Alla. Notre guide Alla était excellente elle ne comptait pas son temps et a pu répondre à toutes nos questions. Nous avons appris énormément. Merci beaucoup Alla.