If you Google The Uffizi Gallery you won’t find the museum at the top of the page. Instead, you’ll find two pages of tour guide ads and info on how to purchase tickets. Let the poor SEO be a warning to you…getting into The Uffizi isn’t for the fainthearted.
If you refuse to pay a premium to a tour guide and figure out how to purchase advance tickets online, you still have to go stand in a very long line to pick up your reserved ticket. Apparently, we’re still living in the Renaissance when it comes to ticket automation here.
I was willing to do a lot to go see Botticelli’s Birth of Venus in person. In my quest to buy advance tickets for John and me, along with Trevor and Eleanor who are visiting us, I gave up on the online approach or calling ahead and opted to stand in line — first the wrong line and then the right one at the Academia. At least this way, I figured, I would forego long waiting lines to get in.
But when we showed up at The Uffizi today for our 1 p.m. reservation, I was disheartened to face yet another very long line.
An inquiry at the entrance door resulted in a guard telling us to go to the end of the line — despite our reserved time slot. Why have a reservation? Then as we’re standing in line, a crazy thing happens. People from various points in the line get out of it and move to the entrance packed with people standing at the beginning of the same line. But now, rather than sending you to the back of the line, the guards magically let you move ahead of the others standing in line. If not for an Italian couple who spoke English standing behind us who knew this was the process, we would still be in line. Zero organization or logic for getting into the Uffizi.
Once in, you stand in another line to get through security. People are everywhere and signage is scarce. If you fail to see the signs for audio guides or if you haven’t purchased a book and done your homework beforehand, you are doomed to wander aimlessly while scanning tiny placards at the bottom of each piece which tell you the artist and the title of the piece and little else. Oh yea, you’ll have to ask for a map of the place…none is offered as you stand in a third line to have your ticket stub extracted.
In short, if you’re not an aficionado, art student or haven’t done a ton of reading prior to entering — the Uffizi fizzles.