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Is museuming a word? It should be, because it’s definitely what I did in Florence.
Italy is filled with museums – important, historic, impressive galleries and buildings that are certainly worth a visit. I went to churches and museums in most of the cities I stopped at, but none more so then Florence. In fact, it seemed like that’s all there really was to do (besides long pasta- and wine-filled lunches…).
You could easily spend several days simply visiting museums – there’s so much to see and take in…and it can take a while to actually get your ticket and figure out where you’re supposed to be. For some reason, ticket offices were often at different locations than the entrances, or sometime even in different locations, and the larger museums long lines to simple purchase tickets. (They had counters letting you know the estimated wait time like it was a ride at Disneyland.)
One way to go about seeing it all is purchasing the city’s Firenze Card which lets you into many of the churches, museums and palaces. For €72 you get 72 hours access to visit what you’d like without worrying about figuring out tickets for each location.
Depending on what you’re interested in seeing, the card could be a tremendous value…or a decent chunk of money wasted. At around $100, you need to have an idea of what the museums cost and how many you’re planning to visit to make it worth it. Of course, I purchased the card without really knowing what I wanted to see. A few pros and cons:
I just barely made buying the Firenze Card worth it, though it would have been better if I had gone to a couple more places. I went to eight museums and churches that if I had paid individually would have cost me €70.50, just shy of the €72 for the card. However, saving time by not having to buy tickets online or wait in queues to get in was a huge plus. (Though I still had to circle the Duomo three times to get my card validated at the correct places then go into the correct entrances because they were all different. If, on top of that, I had had to wait in line too I would have gone crazy.)
There are several ticket reductions for European Union citizens, but few others. Several places didn’t even give a discount to U.S. students studying in Florence. Also, some locations had children’s prices while others didn’t and to reserve and purchase tickets ahead of time (so you don’t need to wait in line) there’s an additional €4 fee. If you aren’t an EU citizen chances are the card will definitely help you out money-wise.