Mondays in Florence is generally perceived as the day everything shuts down and I’m inundated with people coming to me for recommendations about what to do art and history-wise. The Uffizi, Accademia and Pitti Palace are all closed, along with a number of restaurants, cafes, bars, but don’t despair! Monday is in fact a great day for exploring Florence and perhaps a way to discover something a little off the beaten track.

View over Florence from San Miniato al Monte

View over Florence from San Miniato al Monte

I’ve put together a list of what’s open on Mondays—I’ll also be doing a separate piece on each of them over the following months, so stay tuned!

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Crypt, Baptistery, bell tower, cupola and the wonderful Museo dell’Opera del Duomo often missed by visitors, but really fascinating with many original pieces including the Lorenzo Ghiberti’s doors for the Baptistery Gates of Paradise. (All open on Mondays, but times vary)

Palazzo Vecchio on Piazza della Signoria has been the city hall since medieval times, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio (the Duomo and Santa Croce architect) it is now home to numerous works of art and objects. Most interesting are the walls of Salone dei Cinquecento which depict battles and victory scenes by Vasari, which is said to have covered over lost frescoes by Leonardo da Vinci. Visit on a sunny day for a spectacular view over Florence from the tower which once held Cosimo de’ Medici during his imprisonment. (9.00 – 19.00, 23.00 in the summer months)

Orsanmichele the 1st floor where the original statues of the tabernacles are actually only open on a Monday, so it’s a nice way to get a close up look at the figures. The building itself was originally an open grain store (you can see the 13th century arches which originally formed the loggia) but was converted into a church between 1380 and 1404 as a chapel for Florence’s craft and trade guilds. It was these guilds that commissioned the statues of their patron saints to decorate the exterior of the church. On the ground floor, there is a stunning gothic tabernacle by Andrea Orcagna (1355-59). (10.00 – 17.00)

Ospedale degli Innocenti a moving and informative look into the Foundling Hospital and the history of its orphaned children, which spans over six centuries. Designed by Brunelleschi decorated with glazed terracotta reliefs of swaddled babies by Andrea della Robbia, you can see pieces by Sandro Botticelli, Piero di Cosimo and Domenico Ghirlandaio here too. (8.30 – 19.00)

San Lorenzo church very much in Medici territory, this church was designed by Brunelleschi for the Medici, with a grand Renaissance interior. It’s one of the largest churches in Florence (and claims to be the oldest) and is conveniently located by Mercato Centrale – the 1st floor is a great place for lunch! Closed the 1st, 3rd and 5th Mondays of the month. (8.15 – 13.50, 16.50 in the summer months)

Medici Chapels the burial place for the Medici and where to come to marvel over works by Michelangelo. The New Sacristy designed and decorated by Michelangelo shows statues in various states including the allegories of Day and Night, and Dawn and Dusk. (8.15 – 13.50, 16.50 in the summer months)

Museo Misericordia – Behind the row of ambulances by Giotto’s belltower, is an easy to miss museum but open on a Monday. The lift takes you to the 4th floor, and a guide will take you around the rooms giving you an in-depth insight into the history of the Misericordia. It’s free to visit but feel free to leave a donation. (Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 9.00 – 12.00 and 15.00 – 17.00, Saturday 10 – 12)

Brancacci Chapel situated in the Oltrarno, the Masaccio/Masolino/Lippi frescoes here are some of my favorites in Florence, you may need to book a time slot. (10.00 – 17.00)

Palazzo Davanzati the Museum of the Old Florentine House, which gives a look into what a Medieval patrician house was like. Closed on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Mondays of the month. (8.15 – 13.50)

Horne Museum the home of the English collector Herbert P. Horne (1864-1916), with a focus on art and furnishings from the 14th and 15th centuries. (9.00 – 13.00)

Marino Marini Museum ancient, modern and contemporary art all under 1 roof, in the ex-church of San Pancrazio. A few streets away is Todo Modo (Via dei Fossi) a great little independent book store, cafe and theatre. (10.00 – 19.00)

Palazzo Medici Riccardi and the Magi Chapel the Medici family take part in the Journey of the Magi in this tiny chapel decorated by Benozzo Gozzoli (1459-1461). (10.00 – 19.00)

Santa Maria Novella church there’s so much to see here, from Giotto’s Crucifix, Masaccio’s Holy Trinity and Ghirlandaio’s frescoes. (9.00 – 17.30)

Santa Croce Church frescoes by Giotto and burial site for Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli. (9.30 – 17.30)

San Marco Church and convent The convent is of most interest here; rebuilt in 1437 by order of Cosimo il Vecchio de’ Medici with individual friar’s cells decorated by Fra Angelico, whose work is shown throughout the complex. The former library on the first floor houses a considerable number or illustrated choir books on display. Closed on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month. (8.15 – 13.50, extended hours on holidays)

Ognissanti Church for Giotto’s beautifully restored Crucifix, then pop next door to see the Last Supper by Domenico Ghirlandaio (open 9.00 – 12.00)

Last Supper of Sant’Apollonia Not far from San Marco with a beautifully preserved fresco by Andrea del Castagno. Closed on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month. (8.15 – 13.50)

Casa Buonarroti museum for the great Michelangelo and works collected by the Buonarroti family. (9.30 – 16.00)

Stibbert Museum a short bus journey (no.4 from the station), home to a vast collection of armor and a lovely green park. (10.00 – 14.00, extended hours on holidays)

Casa Rodolfo Siviero the house of a passionate collector, now transformed into a museum, a vast and varied collection. During the summer there’s an “urban beach” on the banks of the Arno just across the street, which is a great place for cocktails in the evening sun. (10.00 – 13.00)

Opificio delle Pietre Dure near the Galleria dell’Accademia Workshop of semi-precious stones. A few doors down is Arà; è Sicilia, the sardine arancini are delicious, and if they’re out of those, go for the pistachio! (8.30 – 13.30)

Stefano Bardini Museum named after its creator, an important Italian art restorer and dealer. The building itself is a thing of beauty – the use of doors, windows and objects of old fragments from ruined churched and villas. (11.00 – 17.00)

Botanical Garden Giardino dei Semplici founded 1545 by Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, and was used to cultivate medicinal plants. (9.00 – 13.00)

San Miniato al Monte church near Piazza Michelangelo with views across Florence, the sacristy decorated by Spinello Aretino which depicts Scenes from the Life of St Benedict is brilliant. (9.30 – 13.00 and 15.00 – 19.00)

Medici Villa di Castello gardens in the hills north of Florence, former home of Cosimo I de’ Medici, closed on the 2nd and 3rd Monday of the month. The cave of animals by Giorgio Vasari is worth the short bus trip alone. (8.15 – 18.30, reduced hours in the winter)

Medici Villa La Petraia close to Villa di Castello, closed every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month. Unlike the Medici Villa di Castello, you can see inside the villa here too. It’s free and guided tours start every hour from 8.30 onwards. (8.15 – 19.30, reduced hours in the winter)

For many more wonderful suggestions about how to spend a Monday in the city, see this excellent post on Girl in Florence.

 

Tagged with →  
Share →

2 Responses to Mondays in Florence

  1. John says:

    Very useful information, hope to use it on my next trip to Florence

    • mm Alexandra Lawrence says:

      Thank you for commenting, John, and I do hope that the info will be useful to you!
      All best,
      Alexandra

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *