Hundreds of lights and decorations, Christmas trees, crowds of shoppers, the perfume of roasting chestnuts in the cool, brisk air: all signs that winter is approaching and Christmas is almost here!
As you head out to do some Christmas shopping, you might also want to fit in some time at Florence's main museums. So that you can plan your days better, know that in the case of museums, everything is open according to their normal hours while stores generally have extended hours and are even open on Sundays.
Make a note: almost everything is closed on Christmas Day (December 25th) and January 1st as far as museums go. Many museums that are closed on Mondays (such as the Uffizi and Accademia) will hold special openings depending on the dates of the holidays.
If you're in Florence around the holidays, we highly recommend you visit Palazzo Medici-Riccardi and its chapel by Benozzo Gozzoli dedicated to the Procession of the Wise Men.
So without further ado, here is a list of what will be open during the holidays this 2017-18 so you can plan around these openings:
Christmas Eve - Sunday, December 24
All museums, included Uffizi and Accademia, will be open on Christmas Eve (December 24).
On December 24th the Accademia Gallery is open until 6pm (last entry is at 5:30pm).
The Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria Palatina and Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Palazzo Pitti close on 5:50pm on December 24 (last entry is at 5pm).
If you want to book your tickets ahead of time, we suggest booking through Uffizi.org. The cost of the ticket includes a small booking fee but you'll avoid any lines!
Christmas Day - Monday, December 25th
All state and city museums are closed! Only exception is the Palazzo Strozzi and the Palazzo Medici Riccardi where you can enjoy a fabulous fresco cycle by Benozzo Gozzoli in the small Chapel of the Magi (closed on Wednesday), from 10am to 6pm.
What to do instead?
Remember that Florence is an open-air museum and you can take advantage of this day to stroll around the entire historical center and enjoy the city during this special time of the year with all of the lights and decorations. Here is a suggested itinerary: start in Piazza San Lorenzo, then head to Piazza del Duomo, then down Via Calzaiuoli to Piazza della Signoria. Continue down past the Uffizi Gallery to Ponte Vecchio admiring the Arno along the way and end up at Palazzo Pitti. If you still have energy, climb up to Piazzale Michelangelo to enjoy the extraordinary panoramic view of Florence!
Also many churches will be open, albeit for religious services... best times for visits is in the afternoon. We suggest the following: San Miniato al Monte, Santa Maria Novella (1-5pm), Santa Trinita and Santo Spirito.
Santo Stefano/Boxing Day - Tuesday, December 26th
Note that the 26th of December is the feast day of Santo Stefano, St. Stephen, patron saint for the country. While it is a legal holiday in Italy, museums in Florence normally open on Tuesdays will be open. Several will continue their extended holiday hours.
The following week..... is New Year’s Eve! (Sunday)
On New Year's Eve, all museums will be open with normal hours, some closing just a bit earlier. The big ones we want to highlight are:
- The Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria Palatina and Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Palazzo Pitti will close on 6pm (last entry at 5.20pm).
- The Accademia Gallery will be open until 6pm on New Year's Eve (last entry at 5:20pm).
New Year's Day - Monday
Most museums will be closed on January 1st. The few exceptions are:
- Palazzo Vecchio - Dec 31 (9am - 7pm) / Jan 1 (2pm-5pm) / Jan 2-6 (9am - 11 pm)
- Museo Novecento - 2pm – 7pm
The Orsanmichele museum will be closed on the first but will be open on Tuesday, January 2nd from 10am-5pm.
Saturday January 6 - Epiphany
Since the Epiphany in 2018 falls on a Saturday, all museums will observe their normal opening/closing hours.
Of special note, if you're in Florence, don't miss the Procession of the Wise Men through Florence on January 6th!
- Palazzo Vecchio: 9am-11pm (special hours on the 2nd - 3rd - 4th - 5th and 6th January)
- Santa Maria Novella: 1-5:30pm
- Museo del Novecento - 11am-7pm
From all of the team at Visit Florence, we wish a very Happy Holiday season to everyone!