The Uffizi is one of the largest most abundant museums in the world, receiving over 1.5 million visitors per year. The management of such crowds makes it critical to be strategic about your visit, especially for families. My top recommendations for visiting the Uffizi with kids are:
- It is absolutely necessary to purchase advance tickets online to avoid lines that may not be possible to wait in with children. Tickets can be purchased directly from the state museum organization website, Polo Museale. Secondly, it’s important to plan your visit as a family in advance, as it will not be possible to see everything.
- Map out which works of art you would each like to see, making a list. Then acquaint your children with the works and the artists in advance. There are several online resources, such as the Polo Museale YouTube Channel, or even just viewing images on the museum’s website. When children have a context for what they will be seeing and a level of familiarity with the art before you visit, they will benefit more from the experience, and it will be more fun and exciting.
- Consider using a private guide who works well specifically with children, with the understanding that this should be a more interactive tour with a different orientation than the more “informational” tours adults often have in mind. I have found that if parents release their expectations about checking off a list of famous paintings in a tour and slow down to view the collections from a child’s eyes, they will benefit much more as well in the end, and the experience will be more bonding for the family as the tour ends up being less of a lecture, and more of an activity and a conversation.
On our recent tour of the Uffizi with a group of families whose children were attending the Arte al Sole Florence art program for kids, we visited the museum with guide Alexander Lawrence. Based on the feedback we had given her about the knowledge the children ages 5-11 had of medieval and Renaissance art and artists, Alexandra tailored our tour thoughtfully and intentionally to provide them with a rich experience. We chose to see limit our tour to 2 hours as the museum is hot, stuffy, and crowded, and vigilantly monitored, so it is hard to visit for much longer than this as kids get tired and spacy. Truly, the less-is-more approach is advised here—you will not be able to see it all, so focus on seeing what you can in a deeper way that creates meaning and fosters an appreciation of the art for children, for whom above all this is an aesthetic experience, as indeed it should be, and, perhaps most importantly, with the outcome that your children leave with the idea that museums are fun and interesting and wouldn’t it be great to visit them more often.
Author Shannon Kenny is director of the Arte al Sole kids arts and cultural programs in Italy, Editor-in-Chief of Italiakids, and partner in Elaia Travel, a custom trip planning resource.
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