The Mystery of Free 2019 Florence Museum Openings

Uffizi Gallery

Free Museum Sunday is coming to an end in Florence; it is being replaced with what may be the most convoluted visiting schedule in recent history instead.

Due to several new decrees by the Ministry of Arts and Culture, the tradition of free first Sundays at museums (Domenica al Museo, Sunday at the Museum), established by the Renzi government in 2014, will be replaced with admission-free dates chosen jointly by museums and the ministry.

All 480 state-run museums, archaeological sites, and monuments throughout Italy will keep their free Sundays from October to March without need of reservation. First Sundays from April to September, however, are no longer free though the public still has the option to make reservations at 055-294883.

The Week of Culture is also a newly re-established occasion, formerly taking place prior to 2014 in either April or December. From March 5 to March 10, 2019, all state-owned and miscellaneous other museums will be free and open to the public without the possibility of reservations. These include the Uffizi Gallery (8:15 am – 6:50 pm); the Palatine Gallery (8 am – 6:50 pm), the Modern Art Gallery (8 am – 6:50 pm), the Fashion and Costume Gallery  (8:15 am – 6:50 pm) in the Pitti Palace; the Academy Gallery (8:15 am – 6:50 pm); the Bargello (National Sculpture Museum, 8:15 am – 1:5o pm); the Archeological Museum (8:30 am – 2 pm); the Medici Chapels (8 am – 1:50 pm); and the Boboli and Bardini Gardens (8:15 am – 6:50 pm) as well as Florence’s San Marco museum (8:15 am – 1:50 pm).  Outside Florence there is no-cost entrance to the garden of the Medici villa at Castello; Villa Corsini at Castello and the Medici villas of La Petraia and Cerreto Guidi.

Due to the expected turnout, Firenzecard holders have been told that their membership will not guarantee their priority access during this time. There will be no Firenzecard reimbursements or refunds despite the inconvenience.

The Academy Gallery will have its own weeks and days: in addition to every first Sunday on the months of October through March, the week of November 5 to 10 will offer entrance at no charge at the Academy. Free days in 2019 to spend with David include November 22 and December 8.

The Uffizi gallery, on the other hand, has chosen a totally different agenda of complimentary admission to all. The Uffizi conglomerate, comprising the Uffizi Gallery, the Boboli Gardens, and the Palazzo Pitti museums, will be free of charge March 24, June 23, October 11, and October 31, 2019. The Uffizi Gallery will also grant free admission May 26, June 2, August 11, and November 6; likewise, Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens on March 17, August 4, August 27, and November 30. These days were chosen by the director of the Uffizi, Eike Schmidt, as a tribute to important moments in the history of Florence and Italy.

Any reservations made at the Uffizi for free museum days will be cancelled because of the recently announced decisions. Reservations can be reimbursed by emailing firenzemusei@operalaboratori.com.

Schmidt has changed the name of the Uffizi to the Uffizi Gallery of Statues and Paintings, though most still call it by its former name. As such, both are being used interchangeably depending on the source; always referring to the same place: the Uffizi Gallery.

In addition, the times and pricing of Bargello National Sculpture Museum will be changed from March 9 to July 14 because of a new exhibition at the museum, Verrocchio master of Leonardo, which has sections in both the Bargello and Palazzo Strozzi. The Bargello’s new hours will be 8:15 am to 5 pm on Mondays through Thursday and 8:15 am to 7 pm on Friday and Saturday. Fees will be €9 full price and €6 for holders of an exhibition ticket from Palazzo Strozzi.

In an effort to attract a younger audience to these places, there has also been a drastic change in fees at state-run museums. As of 2019, there is only be a €2 ticket for young adults from ages 18 to 25. Italians and EU residents under age 18 along with Italians and Europeans who study humanities are exempted from paying admission.

In Florence, EU residents, including Italians, will still not have to pay entrance fees on Mondays at city-run museums, which are Palazzo Vecchio, the Brancacci Chapel, the Bardini Museum, the Novecento Museum of 20th Century Art as well as the Salvatore Romano Antiquities Foundation, until the end of 2019.

Minister Alberto Bonisoli has been trying to abolish free museum Sundays altogether since July 2018 but quickly backtracked after public backlash against the idea. (katy rose sparks)