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Jo Fitzsimons is a freelance travel writer who has visited over 50 countries. www.indianajo.com is the place where she shares destination details, travel itineraries, planning and booking tips and trip tales. Her aim: to help you plan your travel adventure on your terms and to your budget.

85 Responses

  1. Amjen
    Amjen at | | Reply

    FYI, the combined ticket for the duomo is now 15€. For the 12 museums I really want to see (4/day is a normal routine for me), the card is definitly worth it. I save around 20€ minimum

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  6. Glads Ong
    Glads Ong at | | Reply

    Thanks Jo. Very useful information. I’m glad I found this site. Me and my partner are visiting Florence in August for the first time but onlu staying for 2 days. One day is for Tuscany trip so that leaves us one day to do Florence city. Was thinking of getting the Florence card because we wanted to climb the Duomo without lining up. We also want to see the Opera Museum and the Baptistry. Do we need to line up twice for each of the attractions especially the Duomo climb (one to get the tickets and one to get to the entrance of the Duomo)?
    Our reason for getting the card is we cannot book tours to skip the line for the Duomo as the times available do not work with our schedule. We just wanted to see the David, climb the Duomo, visit the Baptistry, Opera Museum, see Santa Croce, Pitti Palace and maybe a few other churches. We don’t have much time in Florence so we don’t mind paying for the extra cost for a Firenze card as long as we don’t queue at the Duomo and the Academia. Your inputs will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Glads

  7. Gillian Downie
    Gillian Downie at | | Reply

    Many thanks for the updated information about the Firenze card. It has reassured me about the problems I have noted in a lot of old forums. We will be going ahead and purchasing the card for our three day trip in July.

  8. thompsondavid
    thompsondavid at | | Reply

    Very practical information. You may have mentioned this elsewhere in your blog, but when my wife and I stayed in Florence we stayed in a convent, booked thru monasterystays.com .

    In Florence we found Istituto Suore di Santa Elisabetta was great. I see their prices are about 80% higher than in 2011, which may be true everywhere.

  9. Meredith
    Meredith at | | Reply

    Very useful article. My husband and I are headed to Florence next weekend [Feb 12 – 15 2016]. Are still planning out our trip but the info you covered in regards to the Firenze Card will definitely help in deciding whether this is the right option for us. Bummer about the public transit not being included at present!! Thanks for all the info, Ciao!

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  11. Bob
    Bob at | | Reply

    Hi Jo,
    I will be arriving in Florence on July 6 (2016) and plan to begin using the Firenzes card on July 7. I wrote the Firenze staff regarding whether I should by a card for my 13 year old daughter…they advised that I just purchase cards for myself and for my wife and that my daughter (13 years old and a non-eu member) would simply be able to access the priority lines with us and our cards and receive or purchase her free/reduced/full price ticket there at the priority access desk, which would allow her all of the benefits of skipping the lines as well as long as she is with us. At least, that is how I read their message. Could you read below and see if you read it the same way (and or have a different experience)? The last thing I want to do is be at the priority entrance (Uffuzi and Accademia) and have someone say that she needs to get in another line to get her ticket to enter with us, negating the advantage of the cards! Here is what they wrote…

    From Firenze staff…”people under 18 years old, who are European Union citizen and family members of the Firenzecard holder, enjoy the same benefits reserved to Firenzecard holder. People under 18 years old, who are not European Union citizen but family members of the Firenzecard holder, can enter the museums through the priority access with you who are Firenzecard holders. After that:

    collect the free ticket to visit the civic museums (Palazzo Vecchio, Cappella Brancacci, Museo Bardini, ecc.) directly at the Firenzecard entrances;
    collect the free ticket and buy a reservation to visit the state museums – she can pay the reservation directly at the reserved entrances for Firenzecard (price € 4.00 for the Uffizi Gallery and € 4.00 for the Accademia Gallery) if you have the Firenzecard;
    collect the free ticket/purchase a reduced/full ticket to visit the other museums, according to the various museum admission rules.

    When she has to collect a free ticket or purchase a reduced/full ticket at the museum ticket offices (other than civic museums and Uffizi and Accademia Gallery), they are usually through a priority line since you have Firenzecard.
    If you have Firenzecard, to visit Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Brunelleschi’s Dome, the Baptistery, Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore Museum and the Santa Reparata Crypt you have to go to the ticket office in Piazza San Giovanni 7 (R), you have to show your Firenzecard and to collect the free ticket to put in the automatic turnstiles because of the ticketing system of the Duomo Complex. Here you can purchase also the ticket for your daughter.”

    If I am reading the above wrong and my daughter will need to wait in a line for tickets at the big busy sites to enter priority with us, then I would likely just get her a Firenze card as wel.

    Also, at the Duomo dome climb…
    1. After you get your combo ticket for Duomo sites, are the only good for that day? Or can I use the Duomo dome climb ticket one day and decide to use the ticket for the Duomo museum another day?
    2. Skipping the Duomo line for the Duomo dome climb sounds great, but does that just skip that outside line and then place you at the base of the stairs in the rest of the line for the stairs? If so, about how long does that line take to get you up the stairs and to the top of the dome? Or does that line skip get you up a separate stair case so there is no wait at all?
    3. Do those Duomo dome climb lines typically get long right at opening or later in the day? I am considering doing the Accademia first at 8:15 and then hitting the Duomo sites afterwards (9:30/10:00am or so?) but didn’t know if the Duomo sites would likely be overrun by then?

    Thank you so much for taking the time Jo….I appreciate it!
    Gratefully,
    Bob

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  14. Shelley
    Shelley at | | Reply

    Very helpful, thank you. As of 01 November 2015, the card no longer provides for buses and wifi is no longer available, according to their website.

    1. Gary Howard
      Gary Howard at | | Reply

      Shame about the buses. We did use it a few times on our Firenze Card, especially to Piazzale Michelangelo. However, the day that when we really wanted one, when it was raining and my knees were really aching everyone pushed in front of us and we didn’t get on, so we ended up walking anyway, via a few bars of course.

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  17. thearroyos
    thearroyos at | | Reply

    Great article. Thank you very much. Can anyone reading this tell me if you know. We have one minor son (he is 16) and there are four adults traveling together plus my son. If we buy the pass (we are in Florence for 3 full days) can we use it to get into the Uffizi Gallery on a free day – to get to the front of the line? AND Can my son walk in with us?

  18. L. Alison
    L. Alison at | | Reply

    Hi Jo,
    Our family will be in Florence this July (for 3 days) and I am weighing the pros and cons of the Firenze Card. We have 3 children under the age of 18 — would it be worth buying each of them their own Firenze Card so we could all jump lines together? I am unclear on what is free for non-EU resident children. Also, we are traveling with grandparents too — so avoiding long lines is a priority for me.
    Thanks so much,
    Alison

  19. Gary Howard
    Gary Howard at | | Reply

    Hi Jo, I have two questions.

    Entrance into the Cathedral if free, but can I still jump the queue with the Firenze card or does this only apply at places where there is a queue for tickets.

    Also would I need to visit the San Lorenzo Church and Medici Chapels at the same time, or do they have separate entrances. I don’t really want to pay for a second visit to the church in order to see the chapels if I didn’t see them on my first visit.

    BTW, this is great site. Exactly what I needed for my visit to Florence next month.

    Thank you.

    Gary.

    1. Alexandra x Firenzecard
      Alexandra x Firenzecard at | | Reply

      Dear Gary
      Thanks for your questions about Firenzecard on Jo’s helpful blog post!

      The queue juming at the Duomo is official: YES, you do have a right to skip the line here, at the Uffizi and the Accademia. You must go to the ticket office located in piazza duomo FIRST, get your ticket, then go to the specific Firenzecard line walking right past all those people baking in the heat waiting to go in.

      San Lorenzo church and the Medici Chapels have separate entry fees and ticket offices, but if you have Firenzecard of course you get into both of them using the card. Neither tend to have line-ups. So indeed, you can go to one and not the other, or both at different times.

      Hope that helps! If you have further questions feel free to write us a tweet @firenzecard or a message or public note on our fan page.
      Best regards
      Alexandra x Firenzecard

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  21. Firenzecard Staff
    Firenzecard Staff at | | Reply

    Dear Jo,
    we would to inform you that starting from 1st of August 2014 the Firenzecard Circuit is BIGGER! Access 8 more museums for a total of 67 for the same price – the new additions are:
    Museo Novecento
    Forte Belvedere – on occasion of exhibition only
    Church of San Lorenzo
    Complesso San Firenze Sala della Musica – on occasion of exhibition only
    Laurentian Library – on occasion of exhibition only
    Crypt of Santa Reparata
    Casa Siviero Museum
    Pratolino Medici Park (Villa Demidoff)

    We would to inform you also that starting from 1st of August 2014 you need to go to the Firenzecard dedicated ticket office at OPA Art and Culture Center, in piazza San Giovanni 7, to collect the free apposite ticket to visit the OPA sites of the Firenzecard Circuit (Giotto’s Bell Tower, Dome, Baptistry, Crypt of S. Reparata and Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore Museum – this museum is temporarily closed because of restoration works), because of reorganization of the Great Museum of Duomo ticketing system. You have to put this ticket in the automatic turnstiles.

    Best regards,
    Firenzecard Staff

  22. Chronis
    Chronis at | | Reply

    I used the Firenze card for three full days (20-22 Jul). No lines, no booking times, just 20 minutes waiting out of Academy Gallery. Prices as in the article ( but 15€ Uffizi and Academy – temporary (??) exhibitions). Of course we saved money and the card pushed us for more visits. You can visit all the sites without using transportation (we used the free transortation during evenings) but I can’t write for the WiFi because I did not try to login. I strongly recommend the Firenze card. You will appreciate it when you see the waiting lines.
    Jo, thanks a lot.

    PS Florence is a great place for spending your leave there. I will be back soon.

  23. kathleen
    kathleen at | | Reply

    I think from all the posts that the card could be over kill for us. We arrive in Florence on a Thursday afternoon, and fly out super early Sunday morning. So truly we are able to tour for 2 full days. Card is valuable if there are 3 full days to tour. My thought is that it would just be convenient for busing, elimination of lines, and maybe pushing us a bit to see more attractions.
    Waffling here. Added up entrance fees for the “sure thing” attractions, and it hits about 60 Euros, but doesn’t include buses.
    I have a totally separate question though! Staying in the Oltrarno district and need to get to airport at 4:30 am on a Sunday, suggestions? Taxi? Buses run that early?
    thanks
    k

    1. Firenzecard Staff
      Firenzecard Staff at | | Reply

      Dear Kathleen and dear Jo,

      with Firenzecard you can take free also the city public transport (Ataf buses and tram) for 3 days. So you can take the bus ataf n.12 if you want to reach Piazzale Michelangelo or if you need to move in and around the city.
      Please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information writing to info@firenzecard.it.
      Best wishes,
      Firenzecard Staff

  24. Donna
    Donna at | | Reply

    Dear Jo,
    You are our Italian Guardian Angel:) Thank you so much for your caring and guidance.
    You asked me to post this here…

    We will be in Florence around the second week of Sept. We are celebrating our 31st Anniversary year. We are starting our trip in Venice 3 days, then training it to Cinque Terre 2.5 days, then picking up car from Pisa and spending 3 days in Agitourismo in Rapale before Florence. Our question involves this portion of the trip….

    We will be travelling from an Agritourismo in Rapale (having stayed and toured around there for 3 days) and then we have to return the Hertz car to Florence.

    After returning the car to Florence, we would stay in Florence for 2.5 days near Via G. Giusti.

    I apologize for the number of questions, but they are all related to one another and I’ve researched as much as I can..I think I need your expertise please.

    Three questions, please:

    1. Approx. how long to drive from Pisa to Rapale without stopping? (having already seen Pisa and Lucca) Does 2hours sound right to you?

    2.. Leaving Rapale, what is the safest and most efficient way travelling by car — the actual route — to get to a Hertz to return the car in Florence?

    We want to avoid fines in the city center of Florence and avoid the bad zones and confusion and stress. My husband suggested we return car to the airport and then somehow make our way with some luggage back to city center. (We will have 2 carryons and maybe a duffel bag.)

    Our thoughts were if there was a Hertz somewhere south of Florence, like in a suburb with train access, we would drop it off there and then take the train in since it would be less stressful than the city center or airport.

    When I called Hertz, they cannot seem to answer my question. They say that they cannot search according to directionals, but only by city?? So, they have 2 locations in city center, and one at airport for Florence.

    3. Wondering if there is a suburb where we can drop off car hassle free and start our lovely vacation in Florence sooner, or what to do? I realize you don’t work for Hertz, but you may know of other close locations where people have dropped off rental cars before.

    Otherwise, we have made a reservation for drop off at the Florence airport.

    My research shows that people are having a lot of trouble locating the sign to drop off since it’s off site of the airport. Additionally, I would need some handholding and help getting from this dropoff to the city center to our hotel (address above.)

    If doing the airport idea :

    Do we need to shuttle back to the airport to get further transportation or can we get cabs, etc. at a rental car return area? (When I called Hertz, they don’t know.)

    Should we take a cab — if so, how much directly to Via G. Giusti? 15E?
    Can we take a train from the airport? — if so, how much and how long to destination?
    Can we take a bus from the airport? — if so , how much and how long?

    What do you recommend?

    I hope my questions help others who are traveling from the countryside and needing to return a car to Florence.

    Grazie mille!!

  25. Donna
    Donna at | | Reply

    Hi Jo,

    I am new to your site and really enjoy your descriptions and comments of your adventures and experiences. I am a teacher and think of you as a virtual teacher to so many around the globe:)
    My husband and I are travelling to Florence as part of a bigger trip in mid-Sept.

    I am soooooo confused about the Florence card. You gave a fantastic description with your chart and with details.

    Thinking we would just concentrate on Uffizi, Accademia and David, I called Italy yesterday – the official Uffizi office- and was told the following:

    1. If I make a reservation only, I have to go with the reservation to Gate 3 and wait to get a ticket. Then, go wait in the ticket holders line (Gate 1) until I can enter. If I have the Florence Card I still have to wait in Gate 1 with the ticket holders. Granted, I don’t have to go to Gate 3 first, but still wait in Gate 1. My understanding from your experience was that you just walked up and went in – brava!
    So, I’m confused based on what the Italian office was telling me.
    Did you wait in a Florence card line?
    Did you wait in Gate 1 with ticket holders line?
    Where did you go exactly with the card?

    2. Can a person with a Florence card make a reservation as well for Uffizi and Accademia? I thought the perk of the card is one doesn’t have to make reservations on any day. However, can a person make a reservation and thus diminish wait time ?

    Please clarify as soon as you are able, for I would like to secure reservations if needed.
    Also, would you recommend prepurchase of the Florence card, or since it’s non-refundable then just buy it in Florence. If so, where?

    Grazie mille and thank you for sharing your knowledge with so many!
    Donna

    1. Firenzecard
      Firenzecard at | | Reply

      Hi Donna!
      Jo’s answer really is great, as is this post. As an official representative of this card I can say that it will allow you to skip the lines at the Uffizi and Accademia (you may still wait a few minutes, but never in the long line). This means that if you decide to get the card, you don’t have to reserve.

      The various entrance gates are less confusing when you get there than it seems when they try to explain it on the phone, or if you see it written somewhere. Believe me when you arrive at the Uffizi it will be clear! Facing the arno, if you have to pick up reserved tix you go to a door on your right, and then stand in a line on your left. If you are using the Card, just march up to that left door and wave the red card and it’s holder at the guys and they will help you!

  26. Kim
    Kim at | | Reply

    Thank you Jo for your reply! They are both full day tours. I’m concerned about burnout too, but I think we’ll be okay! Thanks again!

  27. Kim
    Kim at | | Reply

    My friend and I are going to Italy in July. We’ll arrive early on a Thursday by train and plan to spend the day sightseeing. The next day we are taking a bus tour so not much Florence time available. Saturday we have the entire day to explore. Sunday w are planning another all day tour outside of Florence. Then Monday we will take the train to Rome, earlyish most likely.
    I am leaning towards getting the card even though we don’t have a full 72 hours to explore because I think it will help us make the most of our time, skipping lines and such. Would you recommend it?

  28. Chronis
    Chronis at | | Reply

    Hi Jo, I’ve read your posts several times trying to plan my trip to Florence next July. I’ve extracted useful information for what is “must” and what “should” avoid. A question, what if my wife has free entrance? How can we combine my Firenze card with her free pass? Does she has to book the time entrance and I have just to follow her? Does she has to wait in the queue? Any other recommendation?

  29. Andele
    Andele at | | Reply

    Thank you for the detailed info on the Firenze card!
    My husband and I purchased these cards in Florence when we arrived at the train station. Even though we only used 70euro worth each in our three days there, we loved not waiting in line!!! Even at the Domo, after we had to stand in a short line to print off a seperate ticket (they should work on that;-)…it was a bit confusing). Once we received our ticket, there was a seperate line for Firenze card holders. It saved us a ton of time! We also used the bus everyday several times to go to and from our hotel, that was located out of the city center. My husband used the free wifi spots…that helped quite a bit when we needed to get walking directions to our next attraction. I liked having an all-in-one pass! However, would definitely not recommend it if you couldn’t use it for the full 72 hours!

  30. Firenzecard Staff
    Firenzecard Staff at | | Reply

    Dear Mrs. Bauwens and Mrs. Jo, with Firenzecard you can use free the city public transport (Ataf & Linea buses and tram) for three days. So you can take free the Ataf bus n.7 from Florence to Fiesole and from Fiesole to Florence. We recommend you to validate the bus ticket (inside the Firenzecard kit) when you will take the bus or tram for the first time. With Firenzecard you can visit free also the Archeological Area and Museum of Fiesole and the Bandini Museum in Fiesole.
    Please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information writing to info@firenzecard.it.

    Best regards,
    Firenzecard Staff

  31. Bauwens Marie jose
    Bauwens Marie jose at | | Reply

    Van you tell me if THE bus from firenze to fiesole is also possible with THE firenze card? And THE entrances to THE museums at fiesole?
    Thanks For answering

  32. marja van ipenburg
    marja van ipenburg at | | Reply

    Dear Jo

    We just came back from a 4 day visit to Florence, it was our first time. Thanks to your informative website, we had decided to buy the Firenze Card and we were very happy with that.

    There were long lines for many of the sights, but we hardly had to wait, maximum 5 minutes to get in, thanks to the Card. Everywhere we asked directly to someone working at the place how it worked with the Firenze Card, so it was very clear what to do and never confusing.

    We booked the card in advance and changed our voucher at the airport tourist information, which worked well. Thanks a lot for all the information and indeed Florence is a great city, especially with the Firenze Card.

    Greetings from Holland, Marja van Ipenburg and Wim van Alphen

  33. Pak
    Pak at | | Reply

    thank you!

  34. Pak
    Pak at | | Reply

    Hi Jo,
    I have a question about Firenze card during May 1 public holiday.
    Knowing that Firenze cad is good for 72 hours, and May 1 is a public holiday.
    If I purchase and start using Firenze card on April 30, Does that mean the card will be expired on May 2 or May 3?

    thank you in advance and for so many very useful information on this site.

    1. Firenzecard Staff
      Firenzecard Staff at | | Reply

      Dear Pak,

      the Firenzecard is valid for 72 hours and its validity can’t be extended. If you activate your card on April 30th, it is valid until May 3rd at the same time. On May 1st you can find open many museums such as Santa Maria Novella, Palazzo Vecchio, Tower of Palazzo Vecchio, Casa Buonarroti, Casa di Dante, Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore Museum, Synagogue and Jewish Museum, Palazzo Strozzi e CCC Strozzina, Basilica di Santa Croce, Baptistery, Giotto’s Bell Tower, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Archeological and Civic Area and Museum in Fiesole, etc.

      Best regards,
      Firenze Card Staff

  35. Lilianne
    Lilianne at | | Reply

    Hi Jo,
    Thank you for all this information about the Firenze Card. In your price comparison chart, are the ease of access comments for peak summer season?

    Also, what do you think of guided tours? Any tour companies you’ve used or recommend?

  36. fabrizio ceccarelli
    fabrizio ceccarelli at | | Reply

    hello jo, i’d like shortly introduce myself. I’m from Florence, born downtown.
    Such a good impression to see your blog.
    Right hints for US visitors especially.
    As an italian who has spent some time in USA and Canada, i do perfectly understand your wise infos.
    What i’ve Always told to my friends visiting my country, it’s to pay attention to read the travel guides in a very good way. The truth is generally in the middle…
    As you wrote about Tavarnelle Valdipesa, to have a friend telling you what is really authentic and typical is not Always what they do offer you as a “TASTE OF TUSCAN LIFE” (read pasta class)
    and about Florence, my hometown, and its museums, 3 days and the Florence card sometimes are not enough. To use it is convenient, cheaper sometimes, but to plan what you really want to see it clashes with what your instict tells you when you’re there.
    So, and i finish, i’d like to share with your friends and you some friendly tricks to say thank you to all those americans and canadians who’ve been so gentle with me while i was living there.
    have a good day.
    fabrizio

  37. Nancy C
    Nancy C at | | Reply

    Hi Jo,

    I have a question: If you buy tickets individually from the museums direct website (Uffizzi, Accademia, Bapistry, Bell Tower, Dome) – but ahead of time on-line – can you avoid the queques?

  38. Tom
    Tom at | | Reply

    Jo,
    My wife and I are headed to Florence in April, we’re considering purchasing the Firenze card but are wondering how much time we should allow at these places. For instance should we plan to spend the day at each of the more well known sights, Il Duomo, Uffizi, Academia, etc. or is it possible to do a couple of places in one day? We’re planning on spending three days in Florence and are trying to balance the cost of the card vs. individual tickets but are not sure we’d be able to see all that it (the card) has to offer. Any thoughts, insight, etc. that you can provide will be helpful. Thank you in advance!
    Tom

  39. Billy
    Billy at | | Reply

    Thanks Jo. What a great and well written article.

  40. TEG
    TEG at | | Reply

    Many thanks for taking the time to do this!!!

  41. kristine
    kristine at | | Reply

    Hi Jo
    Very informative..will be in Florence for 7 nights in May..will use it as a base to go to the tuscan countryside for a couple of day tours…better option now for us in Florence is to Pay as we go rather than the Firenze Card.Thank you for your great posting and excellent information..
    Regards Kristine

  42. CFO
    CFO at | | Reply

    Really useful post. In Florence now (hardly any ques because it’s November!). and decided against the Florence Card. Just FYI Uffizi and Accademia are now €11 each on the door and with an extra €4 to reserve which does make the Florence Card a bit better value. As you mentioned, to get value out of the card you really have to smash those 3 days and I’m not sure how anyone could take it all in. I personally prefer single tickets for fewer sights which can be savoured, leaving enough energy for a beer at the end of the day!

  43. Bruni
    Bruni at | | Reply

    This is a very informative post. We are in Flroence 3 days mid-October, but on one of those days we are on a small Chianti wine tour. Have decided the 72 euros is not worth it to see perhaps 3 museums. Will book Uffici and Academia online. Thank you.

    1. IndianaJo
      IndianaJo at | | Reply

      Hi Bruni, glad to be able to help. No, I doubt €72 is worth is for just 3 museums! Book booking online definitely will be. Have a great trip.

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