Not only the Uffizi and Romanesque and Renaissance churches: the Tuscan capital is best known for masterpieces of art history of all times, but there are also science museums in Florence. Visiting them allows you to discover how some of the instruments and objects we still use today came into being, and to learn about the incredible lives and personalities of their inventors. When combined with admissions to more classic attractions, such as the Pitti Palace, science museum tickets will let you explore the wonders of this city in the heart of Tuscany. Among them is the popular Museo Galileo, a stone’s throw from the Lungarno.
Museo Galileo: what to see
Tickets for the Galileo Museum in Florence give access to one of the first international institutions dedicated to science, housed in a historic palace, Palazzo Castellani, a stone’s throw from the Uffizi Gallery. In the museum’s eighteen rooms, visitors will find a well-stocked collection of scientific instruments dating back to the Renaissance, as well as an enormous library devoted mainly to the history of science.
The Galileo Museum houses the telescope used by the Pisan scientist to observe the moons of Jupiter, as well as a real relic of the famous physicist, astronomer and philosopher: part of his middle finger!
With the ticket for the Galileo Museum, one can visit the various thematic rooms, dedicated to thermometers, microscopes and other instruments that belonged to Galileo, and the world’s largest armillary sphere, or astrolabe, which belonged to Antonio Santucci, an astronomer and cosmographer in the service of the Medici family in the 16th century.
How to buy tickets for the Galileo Museum in Florence
For a closer look at the Galileo Museum’s telescope and astrolabe, you can purchase a ticket with a skip-the-line option. An audio guide in English and Italian will also be provided, but earphones are not included: you can rent them on site or use your own.
Given the unique and delicate objects on display in this museum, you cannot bring selfie sticks, tripods, suitcases and duffel bags, and animals are also not allowed.
The museum is open daily from 9.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Tuesdays from 9.30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; in the event of changes to the schedule, the visit can be rescheduled or cancelled up to the previous day.
For a unique experience, it is then possible to book a guided tour of the Galileo Museum for small groups. The guided tour (available in Italian, English and Spanish) lasts one and a half hours and afterwards it is possible to remain in the museum to linger in the various rooms independently, with no time limit. The ticket for the guided tour also allows you to skip the queue and cancellation with refund is possible up to 24 hours in advance.
Visiting the Museo Galileo and Palazzo Pitti
With a combined ticket for the Pitti Palace, its Palatine Gallery and the Galileo Museum, it will be enough to cross the Arno to combine the history of art with the history of science.
In addition to seeing the numerous instruments housed in the Palazzo Castellani museum, entry to the Pitti Palace will allow you to visit Florence’s only royal residence and the city’s largest museum complex. Admission to the Pitti Palace includes a skip-the-line option to avoid long waits, especially in high season, and is allowed up to one hour and twenty minutes before closing time. It will give access to:
- Pitti Palace;
- Palatine Gallery, a collection of unique works of art by leading masters such as Rubens, Titian and Bronzino;
- Royal Apartments;
- Gallery of Modern Art;
- Treasury of the Grand Dukes: after having been the residence of the banker Luca Pitti (hence the name), and before having been the residence of the King during the years of Florence as capital city (1865-1870), the Palace housed the Grand Ducal family, the Medici;
- Costume Gallery.
An audio guide in English, Italian, French, German, Spanish or Japanese can be hired on site. When reserving entry to the two sites included in the ticket – the Galileo Museum and Palazzo Pitti – it should be borne in mind that while the former is open every day (only on Tuesdays the opening hours are reduced to half days), the latter is closed on Mondays, while the other days it is open from 8.15am to 6.30pm. Rescheduling and cancellation of both tickets is possible until midnight of the day before the booking.
How to visit other science museums in Florence
For true fans of inventions, astronomy and physics, it is finally possible to purchase a combined ticket for the science museums in Florence, namely the one dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci and the one dedicated to Galileo Galilei.
The latter, as we have seen, is located near the Uffizi, while the former is a short distance away, between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza Santissima Annunziata. In the museum dedicated to the artist, scientist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci, some of whose paintings are preserved in the Uffizi, more than fifty machines and contraptions have been reconstructed from his drawings.
Visitors can interact with these reconstructions and experience for themselves how his ideas and intuitions were not only avant-garde, but were also fundamental to some of the technologies that are now part of our daily lives: just think of his flying machines and our aircraft today.
The museum has been open in Florence for more than 20 years and is suitable for a heterogeneous public, from children to adults. There are no architectural barriers inside, which makes it accessible also to wheelchair users, and it is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; the last admission is one hour before closing time and ticket cancellation and rescheduling are possible until 11.59 p.m. the day before the visit.