Florence Free Sunday - See how you can visit top sights for free!

Are you wondering what the Florence Free Sunday is all about and how you can benefit from it?

bargello museum hallway sculpturesThe fascinating collection at the Bargello Museum is just one of the places you can visit for free

Join me as I run through the sites, monuments and museums that are included in this Italy-wide initiative.

Find out how you can get free access on the Florence Free Sunday events

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Florence’s Free Sunday!

The free first Sundays, also known as the Sunday at the Museum initiative, not only makes the city’s glorious cultural gems more accessible, but it’s also a great opportunity to try something new!

And who doesn’t love finding a few free things to do in Florence?

If you’re not sure which iconic state museums fall under this initiative, you’ll want to stick with me to navigate these busy days in style.

Venus de Medici in the Ufizzi GalleryThe Uffizi Gallery is full of beautiful artwork like this Venus sculpture, and you can see it for free once a month!

On this page we'll tell you everything you need to know, including:

When are the Free Sundays?

Sunday at the Museum takes place on the first Sunday of the month. 

It’s an Italy-wide program that aims to make top cultural spots more accessible. This includes locations in Rome, Venice, Naples and more.

Free entrance on the first Sunday of the month is open to everyone and applies all year round. 

accademia gallery gipsoteca roomPopular rooms like this in the Accademia Gallery will be very busy on the Free Sunday events

So, whenever you’re visiting Florence, you’ll be able to save money on major attractions.

The initiative covers many Florence state sites and monuments, including the Uffizi Gallery, Bargello Museum, and Accademia Gallery.

What can you see for free on the first Sunday of the month?

When you’re trying to take advantage of free entrance to Florence’s finest museums, you need to come prepared.

Especially if you’re visiting the city for the first time.

pitti palace courtyardThe stunning Pitti Palace is worth visiting any time, but especially when it's free to enter

The state museums that participate in the First Sunday initiative are:

  • The Uffizi Gallery, the Boboli Gardens and Palazzo Pitti
  • The Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell'Accademia)
  • The Last Supper by Andrea del Sarto in the Church of San Salvi
  • Florence National Archaeological Museum
  • The Park of Villa Il Ventaglio
  • The Medici Chapels (but not the adjacent church of San Lorenzo)
  • The Medici Villa of Cerreto Guidi and the Historical Museum of Hunting and the Territory via Ponti Medici
  • Bargello National Museum
  • The Garden of the Villa Medicea di Castello

All state museums participating in Sunday at the Museum operate according to their regular opening hours.

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Why do you have to pay for entry to certain museums?

Only state museums participate in the Domenica al Museo initiative.

It doesn’t include archaeological sites or civic museums that are run by private owners.

It’s also important to mention that not all state-run museums will offer free admission on Sundays.

These include the Duomo Complex, Santa Maria Novella, and Palazzo Vecchio.

santa maria novella ceiling frescoesYou will still have to pay the entrance fee to see the medieval frescoes in the Santa Maria Novella complex

However, if you’re a Florence resident, you’ll also have access to the Palazzo Vecchio (be aware that the Arnolfo Tower closes at 5:00PM on Sundays), the Medici Riccardi Palace, the Museo Novecento, the Brancacci Chapel, the Stefano Bardini Museum and the complex of Santa Maria Novella.

You’ll need to show a valid identity document like a passport or national ID card to take advantage of these free activities for residents.

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

Booking in advance for the free entry event - is it possible?

If you want to spend any time at a sight in Florence, you’ll want to make sure you’ll be granted access.

To do this, you’d usually book each site in advance and ensure you have all of your reservation information handy at the entrance. 

On the Florence Free Sundays however, you can’t book in advance and all sites operate on a first-come, first-served basis, so you need to plan to get there early and be prepared to queue.

What about the Firenze Pass?

The Firenze Card currently costs €85 and is the official museum pass for the city of Florence.

It gives you access to an impressive number of museums and attractions across the city. This includes major attractions like Palazzo Pitti, the Uffizi Gallery, and Galleria dell'Accademia.

people queuing by uffiziNormally the Firenze Card allows you to skip the lines for the Uffizi, but not on Free Sunday days

With the Firenze Card, you still need to book your time slot in advance for the Uffizi Gallery, the Galleria dell'Accademia and the Brancacci Chapel.

However, during free entry days, it is not possible to book in advance at all.

So, you won’t be able to skip the line using your Firenze Card.

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

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Can you join a tour when you have free access?

You can certainly join a guided tour of Florence during the Free Sundays.

However, you still won’t be eligible to skip any lines.

Normally most guided tours will give you priority access but on the free admission days, tour providers are subject to the same rules as everyone else.

This doesn’t mean that no tours will be running, but it might be more difficult to find one as it is not very attractive for guides and touring companies to organise tours on the first Sunday of the month.

If you’re still interested, you’ll be best off booking a private or semi-private tour that doesn’t rely on certain numbers to run profitably.

What it's like to visit during the Free Sunday event

On the first Sundays of the month, there are always long lines at top sights across the city. 

The Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Gallery are particularly popular, but even the less iconic sites will be teeming with tourists and locals alike, queues will often be snaking around the block.

If you’re happy to shell out some cash for the remainder of your trip, I recommend visiting lesser-known sites on the Free Sunday.

This way, you’ll still get to fit in the major attractions without waiting in lines for too long.

boboli gardens path up hillWhile the Boboli Gardens will still be busy on the Free Sunday, there is a lot more space for visitors to spread out in compared to the galleries of the Uffizi!

Visiting smaller state museums can be a great workaround as they won’t be as oversubscribed.

Alternatively, you might want to head to the Boboli Gardens or Bardini Gardens as there’s generally more wide-open space to explore.

If you can, it’s also a great idea to schedule your trip over the first Sunday of a less popular season, so early November and December Free Sunday dates tend to be quieter than those in May and June in Florence.

Are there any other ways to visit Florence museums for free?

Although the first Sunday of the month is the most well-known time to visit Florence museums for free, there are other opportunities for a free visit.

There are state museums that open during Settimana della Cultura (Culture Week), this usually takes place in April/May or September/October depending on the year.

You may also be able to access state museums for free on European Heritage Days in September.

These Heritage Days usually take place mid-month and fall on a weekend.

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If you’re looking for free entry year-round, you’ll need to fall into the following categories:

Amongst other categories, children under 18, persons with disabilities that are certified under law, scholars and (some) student groups and teachers certify for free entry at most museums.

So if you fall into any these categories, it’s always a good idea to check the museum’s official site before your visit. 

This should give you the most up-to-date entry conditions that will help you plan your visit to perfection.

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