What you should book in advance in Florence

Wondering what you need to book in advance in Florence?

view of florence from bell tower topClimbing the steps of Giotto's Bell Tower will reward you with this view, so it's very popular therefore!

There’s no need to fall foul to long lines as a first-time visitor to the glorious city!

Join me as I run through everything you need to know about how far in advance to book top sights (and what to do if you can’t book in time!)

Booking in advance in Florence and why it's so important

A last-minute jaunt to Florence without any planning is undoubtedly fun (and entirely possible!).

But I’ve seen too many enthusiastic tourists in the historic city center turned away by long queues as they haven’t booked ahead.

Top attractions in Florence can book out months ahead of time, so it’s always a good idea to book in advance to skip the lines.

Not everything requires a booking though, and I’ll be sure to fill you in on that too!

Here's how to plan for your visit to Florence to avoid being disappointed:

What to book in advance in Florence by at least 3 months

Certain sites will always be busy.

For these sites, you’ll need to book months ahead of time:

Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most famous city museums in Florence and always requires a booking. 

It’s home to an impressive art collection (with over 2,200 pieces!) by world-renowned Italian artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Cimabue, and Giotto.

Because this museum holds some of Italy’s finest cultural gems, it’s always busy.

botticelli birth of venus paintingThe wide collection, including masterpieces like Botticelli's Birth of Venus, attracts a lot of visitors

The complex’s museum sees around 4 million visitors every year and only has a finite capacity each day.

For that reason, you need to book to avoid disappointment (and at the minimum a few weeks ahead too – the longer, the better!).

To book your timed Uffizi tickets, you’ll need to go through the museum’s official website.

You can also call the ticket office (including the office at Orsanmichele Church) if you’re struggling to book online.

If you are unable to secure a ticket to the Uffizi Gallery, you could try:

  • Booking a guided tour that covers your dates. These companies can secure tickets as part of the tour arrangement they have with the Uffizi, so they may have availability when regular entrance tickets have sold out.

Accademia Gallery

The Accademia Gallery is another oversubscribed attraction that sees around 1.7 million visitors every year.

Waiting times are typically well over an hour during the peak periods.

It’s a must-visit for culture buffs and art lovers.

Here you’ll be able to admire Michelangelo’s David, Botticelli’s Madonna and Child, and countless Gothic masterpieces. 

accademia sculpture David by michelangelo close viewThe appeal of Michelangelo's David is a major reason why tickets sell out so fast

If you struggle to get tickets for the Accademia, you can try:

  • Contacting Opera Your Preview which can sometimes help to book advance tickets in-person for popular attractions. It’ll cost you a few euros extra, but might just be worth it (you’ll find it near Ponte Vecchio).
  • Calling the ticket line a few weeks in advance and asking if they have any tickets left.
  • Joining a guided tour, as with the Uffizi, tour providers may have spaces left on their prearranged tours - expect to pay more than the entrance price however.

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Michelin Star Restaurants

I highly recommend booking Michelin Star-rated restaurants well in advance of your trip as virtually any restaurant on the Michelin Guide will be a challenge to book.

Most of these restaurants will have online booking pages, but you can always call the restaurants directly if you want to secure a table.

If you’re unsure, try to book a table in advance for the following restaurants in Florence:

  • La Torre (1 star)
  • Enoteca Pinchiorri (3 stars)
  • Borgo San Jacopo (1 star)
  • Atto di Vito Mollica (1 star)
  • Saporium Firenze (1 star)
  • Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura (1 star)
  • Osteria di Passignano (1 star)
  • Atman a Villa Rospigliosi (1 star)
  • Paca (1 star)
  • Il Palagio (1 star)
  • Santa Elisabetta (1 star)

If you want a Michelin Star experience but struggle to book the restaurants above, try locations with a Bib Gourmand commendation instead!

If you still can’t get an online booking, it’s worth contacting the restaurant last minute for cancellations.

You might just get lucky!

Things to book ahead by a couple of weeks

These are attractions you should try to book ahead by at least a couple of weeks. 

They’re still popular but aren’t as well-known or oversubscribed as the ones I’ve just talked about.

If you’re visiting during the low season, you might just get lucky without a booking.

But even if you’re planning to book at the last minute, you should book anyway!

It’s better to be safe than sorry with these attractions:

Brancacci Chapel

The Brancacci Chapel is home to a gorgeous fresco series by Masaccio with scenes from the life of Saint Peter.

The chapel is currently under construction and from the scaffolding, you will be able to experience the frescoes up-close!

It only allows 10 visitors in at a time for a maximum of 30 minutes.

So, booking is a must and a reservation here is mandatory.

Tickets here are sold with a specific date and time and aren’t available until 30 days in advance of the booking date. 

So mark your calendar 30 days before you plan to go!

The Vasari Corridor

After many years of restoration work, the Vasari Corridor will finally be reopening in 2024 so tickets will be very popular.

It will require a special ticket to access the corridor which runs from the ground floor of the Uffizi Gallery, over the Ponte Vecchio, and into the Pitti Palace.

Ponte Vecchio Vasari corridorThe Vasari Corridor is on top of the stores that are along the Ponte Vecchio bridge

The corridor itself is slightly lesser-known than the attractions it links to, so it’s well worth checking out if you want a more unique experience when the corridor fully opens to visitors once more.

Florence Cathedral Bell Tower and Brunelleschi’s Dome

If you’re planning to climb Brunelleschi’s dome or Giotto's tower, planning and booking ahead is a must.

You can access the main cathedral area without a booking but there will likely be a queue.

florence baptistery bell tower blue skiesWhile the cathedral is free to enter, you will need tickets to climb the Duomo, Bell Tower or enter the Baptistery

You’ll need a ticket to visit the adjoining Duomo Museum and the Baptistery but the dome and the tower are only accessible with a pre-booked slot time.

Booking a Brunelleschi-pass that includes Brunelleschi's dome, Giotto's bell tower, the Baptistery of San Giovanni, the crypt of Santa Reparata, and the museum is an excellent plan.

Popular Social Media restaurants

You’ll find it considerably easier to book a social media-famous restaurant than a Michelin Star spot. 

However, I still recommend booking these at least a couple of weeks in advance as they can become extremely busy during the peak season.

Top examples include:

  • Il Conventino
  • Santo Bevitore
  • Osteria Pastella (people adore this for fresh pasta!)

GustoPizza is also an incredibly oversubscribed Instagram hot-spot, but they don’t accept bookings. 

What you should book 1-2 days in advance

It’s always worth booking things in Florence, even during low season or when you think it might be quiet.  

If you’re visiting for the first time, book concerts, restaurants, and lesser-visited attractions in advance to ensure you’ll get in!


Unless you’re booking something that’s in seriously high demand, you can usually pick up opera tickets last-minute.

You can either head to the box office or book online for most venues.

If you’re not sure where to catch opera in Florence, try out The Auditorium di Santo Stefano al Ponte Vecchio, Chiesa di Santa Monaca, or St Mark's Anglican Church.

Most Restaurants

fuori porta inside tablesYou'll have no problem finding an available table at good restaurants all over Florence

Most regular restaurants in Florence will take bookings, and it’s a good idea to grab a reservation or two to avoid disappointment.

However, you shouldn’t need to plan your food more than a couple of days ahead of time, and will find that there will also be plenty of options for those who don't like to meal-plan at all!

Check out our top tips for making the most of your time in Florence:

Pitti Palace & Boboli Gardens

Inside Pitti Palace, you’ll find several museums that hold art, costumes and furniture in one gorgeous room after the other. 

The Royal Apartments and the Palatine Gallery are particular must-visits if you’re a first-timer.

caravaggio tooth puller in palatine galleryThe Palatine Gallery is full of exceptional paintings, including this Caravaggio

The main thing to remember is that reservations will allow you to skip lines which will be very busy during peak periods (March to October).

This is one of the Florence museums that’s worth booking, but you might get away with leaving your reservation until the last minute in the off-season.

Museum of San Marco, Bargello Museum, and the Medici Chapels

bargello museum lion statueThe Bargello museum is rarely busy so there's no need to book in advance to go inside

These attractions aren’t necessarily related to one another, but they’re major sights that don’t usually require a reservation.

They are offered, but you can usually get away with booking a few days in advance or trying your luck on the day. 

If you’re short on time (or are only in Florence for a couple of days), I suggest booking in advance to be on the safe side.

No matter what season you visit Florence, here are 4 things never to leave at home:

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Some of the things you do not need to book ahead at all


The only bars you need to book in Florence, as they’re very popular, are rooftop bars.

Most other spots for aperitifs will take walk-ins with virtually no issues.

Usually, the earlier in the evening, the quieter it'll be.

aperitivo glass close upYou'll have no trouble finding a bar to enjoy aperitivo in Florence

Free museums

Areas like Bardini Gardens are free without the need for a reservation for Florence residents.

However, you can usually get away without a booking as a tourist too.

bardini gardens walkway wisteriaYou can usually get into the Bardini Gardens without needing to book in advance, although they will be much busier during wisteria season!

If you’re visiting on the Florence Free Sunday, you can get access to tons of state-owned museums for free.

This includes the Uffizi, Accademia, Bargello Museum, Pitti Palace, and the Medici Chapels.

Although I don’t recommend trying the top sights on Free Sunday (you most definitely won't be the only one), you certainly won’t need a reservation.

If you’re not sure what you can visit (or when admission is free), you should check out the Italian Government’s Cultural Website.

Most churches

santa croce facadeEven though you can usually get away with last minute tickets for Santa Croce, why risk it?

Most churches in Florence offer free entry and don’t require reservations.

Santa Trinita, Santa Felicità, and Santo Spirito are all great options to check out.

The churches of Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella offer the option to book tickets online as they are part museum, part church, and as they can get quite busy, there's no harm in doing so.

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