Yellow Zone Museum Reopenings & an Uffizi Discovery
Now the Florence is back in the “yellow” zone starting on April 26, classified less at risk for Covid contagions, the city’s museums are gradually reopening. According to the latest national decree, people now can visit state-run, city-run and church museums with restricted access. On the weekend, visits are only permitted with a reservation made at least one day ahead of time. Below is the list of many local cultural institutions that will slowly become accessible.
THE DUOMO & OTHER CHURCH MUSEUMS
Overseen by the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Florence Duomo complex has announced staggered weekday reopenings that began on April 26, inaugurating with the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (hours 12:45 – 5 pm daily) and Brunelleschi’s Cupola, or Dome (12:45 – 7 pm Monday through Friday, 12:45 pm – 5:30 pm Saturday and Sunday). The Bell Tower (in Italian: Campanile, hours 12:45 – 7 pm daily) and the Opera del Duomo Cathedral museum (Saturday, Sunday and Monday 10:15 – 5 pm) can be toured once more starting on May 1. The Baptistery will remain closed for restoration.
There is entrance once again to Santa Croce from May 12 onwards (11 am – 5 pm Monday, Tuesday – Saturday; 1 – 5 pm on Sunday).
The glorious Fra Angelico frescoes of the early Renaissance in San Marco can once again be admired from May 1 (8:15 am – 1:15 pm Tuesday – Saturday, the second and fourth Sunday of the month and the first and third Monday of the month).
The Church of Santo Spirito has reopened with free admission.
Florence’s state-run museums are close to a return to action, kicking off with Boboli Gardens, which reopened on Tuesday, April 27, accessible through the Pitti Palace entrance only. Visitors wearing masks are now welcome to walk about the monumental green space daily from 8:45 am to 6:30 pm, except for the first and last Monday of the month when Boboli is closed. Each person will also have their temperature measured at the entrance; if found to be over 37.5° C/99.5° Fahrenheit he or she will be turned away. Other safety protocols must be observed: 1.8 meter (6 ft.) social distancing, no gatherings, while groups accompanied by a guide cannot exceed a maximum of 10 people. Ditto for the Bardini Gardens (10 am – 6 pm daily, on weekends with a reservation made through www.firenzemusei.it or by calling 055/294883.
The Bargello Museum of Renaissance sculpture and applied arts will once more begin to welcome guests on Monday, May 3 (hours 8:45 am – 1:30 pm, closed Tuesday and the second and fourth Sunday of the month); ditto for the Medici Chapels (1:45 – 6:30 pm Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 8:45 am – 1:30 pm Saturday and Monday, 8:45 am – 1:45 pm on Sunday) and the Palazzo Davanzati Museum of the Renaissance Home (1:45 – 6:30 pm, closed Tuesday and the first, third and fifth Sunday of the month).
Following is the Pitti Palace complex (Palatine Gallery plus the Modern Art Gallery, and the Treasury of the Grand Dukes) which is reopening on Tuesday, May 4 (hours 1:30 – 6:50 pm); as will the Uffizi Gallery (hours: 8:15 am – 6:30 pm).
Recent remodeling at the Uffizi has just brought to light a number of hidden murals. Two important frescoes — one of Medici Grand Duke Ferdinando I and the other a young life-size Cosimo II de’ Medici, his son and also Grand Duke of Tuscany — were uncovered in the west wing close to Ponte Vecchio and are attributed to artists in the workshop of painter Bernardino Poccetti (1548-1612). Seventeenth century wall decorations were found in an adjacent room. As a result of the work, 2000 square meters (21,500 square ft.) has been added to the existing space, to be utilized in the near future for a new entrance to Vasari Corridor, cloakrooms for visiting groups, and new rooms to display artworks in addition to areas reserved for employees.
The Archeological Museum can be visited starting on May 3 (8:30 am – 2 pm Monday – Wednesday and Saturday – Sunday; 1:30 – 7 pm on Thursday and Friday).
The Accademia Gallery, home to Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture of David, can be toured once again beginning on May 6 (9 am – 6:45 pm Thursday – Sunday only).
CITY-RUN MUSEUMS/ALWAYS OPEN WITH RESTRICTED ACCESS
Florence’s City Councilman for Culture, Tommaso Sacchi, confirmed that most will become accessible immediately. The Palazzo Vecchio museum (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 9 am – 7 pm, closed Thursday); Arnolfo’s Tower (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 9 am – 5 pm, closed Thursday); the Novecento Museum of 20th and 21st Century Art (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 2 pm, closed Thursday) and the Brancacci Chapel, home to Renaissance frescoes by Masaccio, Masolini and Filippino Lippi (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 10 am – 5 pm) reopened on April 28. The Bardini Museum (Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 5 pm) followed suit on April 30.
The San Salvi refectory, which hosts a beautiful and famous Last Supper fresco by Andrea del Sarto, will begin to greet guests again on May 4.
The Galileo Science Museum will be accessible free of charge for the entire month of May by reservation only (made by calling 055 265311). Guided visits available: in Italian at 11 am, 3 and 4:30 pm Tuesday – Friday, 10 and 11:30 am on Saturday; in English at 10 am on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
The Museo degli Innocenti will reopen on May 5 on Monday, Wednesday to Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm (closed Tuesday).
Entrance to the Stibbert Museum will start on May 3 (10 am – 2 pm Monday – Wednesday, 10 am – 6 pm Friday – Sunday, closed Thursday).
The Bardini Garden (Costa San Giorgio 2) reopened on April 27; hours are 10 am – 6 pm with reservations required on the weekend by calling 055.23.46.988 or via email: www.firenzemusei.it.
The Ferragamo museum, which currently hosts the exhibition “Silk, Scarf and Tie Prints by Giovanna Ferragamo” reopened on April 27.
The Roberto Casamonti Modern and Contemporary Art Collection (piazza Santa Trinita) became accessible on April 28 (11:30 – 7 pm Wednesday through Sunday). Reservation is mandatory and can be made by calling 055.60.30.30 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
PARKS & MEDICI VILLAS
On May 1 the Medici villa at Cerreto Guidi will reopen; likewise for the lovely park of Villa il Ventaglio above Piazza della Cure in Florence and the Villa Corsini in Castello on May 4.
Florence’s municipal libraries will once again welcome readers to borrow and return books on a full-time basis starting April 26. Those who wish to study must make a reservation beforehand. (alfie king & rosanna cirigliano)