We run some amazing tours in Florence, but we also want to make sure you enjoy every second of your holiday, so here’s our guide to the best sites open on Mondays in Florence.
Our picks for what to do in Florence on a Monday
Incredible Duomo and glorious Baptistery
Perhaps Florence’s most famous church, the Duomo is also the city’s most popular stop. And if you’re here on a Monday, you’re still in luck—the Duomo is open that day! Feel like a hike? You can climb the 463 steps of the dome, or the 14th-century belltower begun by Giotto, with 414 steps!
And don’t miss the Baptistery. You can stop by any time, of course, to admire its exterior Gates of Paradise, an early 15th-century rendering of some of the Bible’s most dramatic scenes. But if you want to actually enter the Baptistery—Florence’s oldest building, and resplendent with shimmering ceiling mosaics from the 13th century—then you’re good to go on Mondays.
For more information about the Duomo and Baptistery, click here.
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo and Michelangelo’s (other) Pietà
Not all of Florence’s museums are closed on Mondays. One that remains open is the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. It also happens to be Florence’s second-largest museum, a vast but navigable collection of Renaissance masterpieces. Among the best: Donatello’s statues for the Duomo’s campanile, the elaborate choir-lofts by Donatello and Luca della Robbia, Brunelleschi’s death mask, and Ghiberti’s original bronze panels for the Baptistery.
There’s also Michelangelo’s Pietà. No, not that Pietà—instead, the one he was working on when he was almost 80 years old… and that he intended for his own tomb. It’ll send shivers up your spine.
The Bargello, Florence’s biggest museum – and home to the “first” David
Depending on which Monday you’re in town, the Bargello (Via del Proconsolo 4), Florence’s largest museum, just might be open. That’s because it’s closed on the first, third, and fifth Mondays of the month and the second and fourth Sunday of every month.
If you do happen to be there the other Mondays, you’ll find it much more tranquil than the packed Accademia and Uffizi. The 13th-century palazzo is full of gems. Don’t miss Michelangelo’s first big piece, the Bacchus that he carved at a tender 22 years old; Giambologna’s famous Mercury; or Donatello’s David, the sculpture of David before Michelangelo got to his version.
The Brancacci Chapel, one of Florence’s best art gems
Open on Mondays from 10am-5pm, the Cappella Brancacci of the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine (Piazza del Carmine, 14) also happens to be a must-see. That’s because Masaccio, the “father” of the Renaissance, started frescoing it in 1424… only to die shortly after. Enter Filippino Lippi, who finished the work 66 years later. The frescoes are not only gorgeous, but show two different moments in Renaissance art.
The Galileo Museum, a kid-friendly peek at Renaissance science
Even in Florence, the Renaissance wasn’t all art and architecture. For a break from nudes and frescoes, get yourself to Florence’s Galileo Museum.
The museum, a great option for kids, offers a real glimpse into the leaps made in science in the Renaissance era. It’s got everything from Galileo’s original instruments (including the lens he used to find the four moons of Jupiter) to a mechanical calculator from 1664 and even, most disturbingly at all, the middle finger of Galileo’s right hand, taken while he was being reinterred in Santa Croce after the posthumous decision that, actually, his heliocentric view of the universe didn’t really merit his Inquisition indictment.
National Archaeological Museum of Florence
Want to take a break from the Renaissance? Then delve back even further into Italy’s past with the Museo Archeologico (Piazza della SS. Annunziata, 9b).
The city’s archaeological museum, open on Mondays, is fantastic, with such masterpieces as this ancient Etruscan tomb (above), a sarcophagus from the 4th century B.C. that still has its painted scenes of battling Amazons, and the famous Chimera of Arezzo, a lifelike bronze lion from the 5th century B.C. If the upstairs section is closed, just ask for someone to open it.
Palazzo Vecchio: Fantastic frescoes and Machiavelli’s office
You’ll run across the Palazzo Vecchio, the imposing, medieval fortress that served as the seat of the Florentine Republic, often while in Florence. So why not check out what’s inside? Open from 9am-7pm on Mondays, the Palazzo Vecchio includes the sumptuously-decorated rooms of the Medici family; Machiavelli’s office; Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes; and the famed Salone dei Cinquecento, where Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were meant to have a fresco face-off—but where Vasari painted over their attempts. Debate still ranges as to whether the masters’ original frescoes are hiding behind Vasari’s!
Orsanmichele: A museum that’s only open Mondays
For once, it’s actually good if you’re in Florence on a Monday—that’s the only day the museum is open! The Church of Orsanmichele (Via dell’Arte della Lana) is famous for its facade, which is decorated with statues, done between 1340 and 1602, that were each done by a different Florentine guild. Artists involved were among the city’s best, including Ghiberti, Donatello, Pisano, and Giambologna. One by one, however, these statues are being restored and moved inside for their protection… into the museum.
The church and museum of Orsanmichele is located on Via Arte della Lana.
Santa Maria Novella’s museum and church
One of Florence’s most beautiful churches, Santa Maria Novella is a Gothic masterpiece—and both it and its museum are open on Monday. Its real gems are all Renaissance, from a fresco by Masaccio to a crucifix by Giotto. Don’t miss the gorgeous frescoes by Filippino Lippi in the Strozzi chapel. When you’re done, wander into the Museo di Santa Maria Novella, open from 9am-5:30pm on Mondays. It’s a series of hidden, elaborately-frescoed cloisters, the Spanish Chapel with its 14th-century frescoes, and an exhibition of glittering vestments and liturgical treasures.
Need a break in the great outdoors? Then you’re in luck! The Boboli Gardens, the formal, sprawling gardens of the Palazzo Pitti, are open every Monday except for the first and last Monday of the month. As well as filled with beautiful landscaping, the garden boasts the Grotta del Buontalenti, a bizarre Mannerist grotto, filled with sculptures.
Insider’s tip: Want to explore other outdoor spaces? Check out this guide to the top 10 parks in Florence.
The church, library, and Medici Chapels of San Lorenzo
If you’re a Michelangelo fan, you must make it to San Lorenzo. The church, supposed to be Michelangelo’s masterpiece, remained unfinished, giving the exterior rough and almost sad look. But head inside the church, open from 10am-5pm on Mondays, for a treat: bronze pulpits by Donatello, the last work by the artist who had such a huge influence on Michelangelo.
One of San Lorenzo’s neatest offerings, though, is the Biblioteca Laurenziana, or Laurentian Medici Library, which is open on Mondays. An architectural delight, this library was designed by Michelangelo for Florence’s powerful Medici family in 1524, and absolutely revolutionized architecture with its staircase that looks like it’s spilling and its columns that sink into walls.
Meanwhile, the Medici Chapels (Cappelle Medicee) are open on the second and fourth Monday of each month. They serve as the resting place for some of the Medici family’s most important members – and for some of Michelangelo’s most important sculptures, which he created as tombs for his influential patrons! The Medici Chapels are located at Piazza Madonna degli Aldobrandini.
Another option for Florence on a Monday? Take a day trip to a nearby town! Why not join us for our Chianti Experience: Small Group Half-Day Wine Tour from Florence? Not only does this tour run on Mondays, we’ll explore picturesque towns and stunning wineries on a perfectly planned half-day excursion to Chianti wine country from Florence!
by Walks of ItalyView more by Walks ›
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