After initial threats by Italy’s latest government to abolish free Sundays in state museums, a new ministerial decree (announced February 25, 2019) and initiative called “Io vado al museo” actually increases the number of free entry days and reduces the cost of entry for young people aged 18-25. Here is the list of currently announced 2019 free museum openings in Florence’s main state museums, the Uffizi and the Accademia, as well as information on how to find which days are free across Italy. Combine this with my earlier article on free museum days in Florence to make the most of your art and culture budget during your trip.
Free museum opening dates in all Italian state museums!
State museums must now open for free twenty days a year, compared to the previous twelve. Of these, twelve are part of a regular calendar across all state museums, while eight are up to the single institution to decide. The directors of the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Museum have released their extra dates which have been developed very thoughtfully in relation to important recurrences for each – this makes me so happy!
Across the board, all state museums in Italy will be free the first Sunday in the off season, or the months of October, November, December, January (2020), February and March. This initiative is called #iovadoalmuseo and information is available, in Italian, at http://iovadoalmuseo.beniculturali.it. On this website you can also search for the list of free days at any museum in Italy.
I’m pleased to see that they have reinstated the “Settimana dei Musei” or Museum Week, which in 2019 will be March 5 to 10. Information on openings and initiatives such as conferences and special visits will be posted at www.beniculturali.it/settimanadeimusei.
2019 Uffizi and Palazzo Pitti free opening dates
The Uffizi Museums (including Palazzo Pitti) have chosen their eight additional dates and it’s a bit complex since it differs across the museums and also numerous commemorations fall on Mondays so the actual free opening is moved up in each case. I love how complicated this is: obviously the director has been thinking ahead in establishing the dates that will be relevant every year and he has come up with some of the geekiest festivities known to Florentines.
- Uffizi and Pitti are free:
- March 24 is the eve of Florentine New Year and the birth date of Francesco I de’Medici (the actual festivity is March 25 but that falls on a Monday when the museum is closed)
- June 23 for the San Giovanni patron saint festivity (celebrated on the 24th, but here too, it falls on a Monday in 2019)
- October 11 to celebrate the arrival of Vittoria della Rovere in Florence, the 5th Grand Duchess and wife of Ferdinand the second (she was brought here by her mother when she was only one year old)
- October 31 to celebrate the Family Pact made by Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici who donated all the Medici artworks to Florence
- The Uffizi only also celebrates the following dates:
- May 26, commemorating the Strage dei Georgofili and the value of legality (normally celebrated on May 27th but that, too, is a Monday)
- June 2, Festa della Repubblica Italiana
- August 11, commemorating the August 12, 1762 fire in the Uffizi, which tragically destroyed a lot of works, and celebrating the value of security
- November 6, birth of Leopoldo de’ Medici
- And now for Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens…
- March 17, Unity of Italy
- August 4, commemoration of the 1944 Notte dei Ponti and the value of peace, when Nazis destroyed all the bridges in Florence except the Ponte Vecchio
- August 27, crowning of Grand Duke Cosimo I
- November 30, Festa della Toscana
2019 Accademia free opening dates
Director of the Accademia Cecilie Hollberg has announced their eight special openings corresponding to dates that make it possible for Florentines to visit when there are the lowest number of foreign tourists:
- November 5 to 10 – low season
- 22 November – Saint Cecilia day, to remind us that the museum holds a collection of musical instruments – she is the patron saint of music
- December 8 – the Immaculate Conception, the religious holiday that is important to Florentines in its association with the Madonna.
2019 Bargello Museums free opening dates
In addition to Museum Week, during which the Bargello and its related museums Casa Martelli, Palazzo Davanzati and the Medici Chapels (as well as Orsanmichele) are putting on a few special events, the Bargello has also announced its special free opening days as follows:
- March 27 – for the Premiazione David, a film festival
- April 25 – Festa della Liberazione
- May 9 – Festival of Europe
- June 2 – Festa della Repubblica
- June 24 – San Giovanni, patron saint of Florence
- September 29 – for the Corri la Vita charity marathon
- October 13 – Family Day (who knew?)
- November 30 – Festa della Toscana
Remember that the museum of Orsanmichele and Casa Martelli (both of which have limited opening days, see official website for details) are always free.