Super Secret Uffizi Ticket Booth in Florence?

by Jessica on July 30, 2008

by | July 30th, 2008  

You may remember that I recently wrote an article about the long lines in Florence in March for sights like the Uffizi – my goal was to try to implore you to buy tickets ahead of time so that you don’t risk missing out on some of the city’s biggest attractions and that you don’t have to spend your whole day waiting in line to see them. Well, reader Ray chimed in with what I think is an excellent tip – and it’s one I’d not heard of before.

Ray visited Florence last October, and when he learned that tickets for the Uffizi and Accademia were both sold out for the duration of his visit, he actually thought to mention it to the manager at his hotel. The hotel manager then told him about a ticket booth on the busy Via dei Calzaiuoli that usually has tickets, even if it appears that they’re sold out at the official venues.

So, with the directions from his hotel manager, Ray marched over to this mysterious ticket booth and managed to get tickets for both the Uffizi and the Accademia for the very next day. No waiting in long lines, and no booking in advance. What, I had to know, was the story?

I figured the ticket booth was some kind of glorified scalper who, having bought tickets up in advance, was just re-selling them with some kind of additional fee. But Ray says the place looked official, and there was no additional fee or service charge. Instead, this ticket booth appears to be the place to go to buy up other peoples’ cancellations.

The ticket booth is unmarked, and is just a window behind which is a person with a computer. Ray said that when he went, the guy behind the counter spoke pretty good English. He also said the whole process was ridiculously easy, and there was only one other person there buying tickets – that person had also heard about it from his hotel manager (not the same hotel).

Now, I’m of two minds about this – on the one hand, I’m excited to pass on a great tip for those of you who don’t take my advice and book your tickets for the Uffizi or Accademia in advance of your trip. On the other hand, because what you’re buying here are spots that are due to cancellations, there’s still no guarantee that there will be tickets available for you when you show up. There may not be the right number of tickets, or they may not be available at the right time. You’re looking at what’s left here, not getting the pick of the litter.

In poking around the interwebs, I did find a mention of this ticket booth elsewhere, so I’m confident Ray’s not leading me on. (Only joking, Ray.) But after seeing a photo of the outside of the ticket window, I can understand why you’d think twice about what on earth was behind it.

So – here’s my advice. Book your tickets for the Uffizi and Accademia in advance of your trip, if you can. It’ll take all the guesswork out of things. If, however, you are absolutely unable to do this and you don’t want to give up on the notion of seeing these great museums, definitely try this ticket booth that sells cancellation spots. It’s an excellent option to check out before you give up completely.

To find the ticket booth, Ray says to walk south from the Duomo down Via dei Calzaiuoli “about 3 blocks.” The ticket booth is on the right, kind of built into the back of the Orsanmichele church (you’ll see ornamental niches in the walls nearby). “I believe it was the only window at that side,” says Ray. “It was very non-descript and no signs, just a guy sitting at the window at a counter with a computer.”

And because the ticket booth is on the Via dei Calzaiuoli, once you’ve scored your impossible-to-get tickets, reward yourself with a scoop or two of my favorite gelato in Florence at Festival del Gelato. (This is also a good spot to drown your sorrows if even the tickets at this secret booth are gone.)

Thanks for the fabulous tip, Ray! I can’t wait to give it a try the next time I’m in Florence!

Ray’s website is Ray’s Adventures

{ 20 comments }

RaysAdventures July 30, 2008 at 7:52 am
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Well, now it appears there is sign near the window and the scaffolding is gone. It now looks a bit more official and easier to spot. Take advantage now before Lonely Planet catches wind of this and the line starts to form. Thanks for the plug Jessica.

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alec October 9, 2008 at 6:01 am
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Hey – this is a really good one. I am in Florence with hardly any time. Found the glass window – exactly where you said it would be, a woman who spoke excellent english agve us the tickets for the very next day at exactly the time we wanted. They ONLY TAKE CASH. Thanks for the steer. Off for a gelato – the tiramisu flavour is fabulous.

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Jessica October 9, 2008 at 9:13 am
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I’m glad you were able to get your tickets, Alec!

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Sunshine February 13, 2009 at 1:32 am
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I went to this booth on a Thursday and bought reserved tickets for the following Saturday which, according the the Uffizi online ticket sales, were supposedly sold out. This is the slow season in Florence but there was no line at all. I did still have to pay the additional reservation fee and they only sold tickets for reserved time slots but his is certainly easier than managing the crowds around the Uffizi.

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Jennifer June 18, 2009 at 6:41 pm
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It’s true! It worked! My husband and I visted at the end of May and got tickets for the next day. These tickets also were “reserved” so we didn’t have to wait in line with the masses.

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Ilze September 1, 2009 at 7:08 am
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We didn’t find the ticket window this August (it was sunday, maybe it was closed), so instead we went to Uffici at ~7:45, met some 15 people before us and got in first at 8:15. (lot of people arrived ~8:00, so it is better to be a bit earlier) Thus, if you are early riser, you can get in by waiting only 30 min as we did.

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Debo October 20, 2009 at 12:23 pm
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Yep, its there and its square – we found it about 100 metres up on the left. Its a small window, so look out for it otherwise you could easily miss it. 14 Euros a ticket – 10 for entry and 4 for a queue jumper. Bene!

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Malchik November 1, 2009 at 10:53 pm
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Found it and got the tickets promptly. But when we went to Uffizi the ticket queue was not significant. We could have got them in 10mins. But still a good place to grab the tickets. Recommend to check the queue first which might vary based on the season I guess, we were there before last week.

Malchik

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Jessica November 2, 2009 at 9:54 am
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You’re right, Malchik – checking the ticket line at the gallery itself is a good idea. During the less-busy season, you might have no trouble at all getting in without a wait. But I also know when I visited Florence last (in early March), it was still crammed with people and the Uffizi line was longer than 10 minutes! So yes – check first, and then know there’s the other ticket window as a back-up.

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Colin brown May 11, 2011 at 4:10 am
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2011, this ticket booth is still there. We got tickets for galleria at 10am for the next morning. Even though the ticket website for uffizi and galleria said it was booked for the whole week. Totally wrong.

ALS we got to the uffizi at 8 and bought tickets for the 9am right on the spot.

So just go early to any of the places and there are no lines mid-may!

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Jessica May 13, 2011 at 12:29 pm
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The museum websites aren’t wrong when they say they’re booked for the whole week – those tickets were, indeed, sold. The ticket booth is re-selling tickets that people had bought and weren’t able to use. I’m glad you were able to get tickets on short notice – and I think you were very lucky to get tickets to the Uffizi without lines in mid-May. That’s certainly not the usual experience.

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Jason June 18, 2011 at 11:02 am
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We used this today… on a Saturday in mid-June, and we got tickets for both the Uffizi and Accademia for Sunday with no trouble – although we were completely flexible on time of day.

Excellent tip, the lines at the Uffizi were at about 1.5 hours, which I’ve heard is light for June, but this was a way better option.

The window looks like admission tickets to the church it’s built in to, and when it’s closed it has no mention of the museums on the outside. When open, there is a single white sheet in the window with prices for the museums (same as online prices), which is the only way we knew we’d found it. No awning, no signs.

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Jessica June 18, 2011 at 6:08 pm
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I’m so glad it worked for you! I’ve heard that from several people, that it’s really easy to miss, so at least for now it’s likely to remain something of a secret.

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JennO December 1, 2011 at 12:00 am
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Thank you! Incredibly helpful tip! We walked up and were offered at-cost tickets for Uffizi 15 minutes later. However, we wanted to schedule for a rainy day two days out. Online scalpers were $71 and $59 for three Uffizi tickets alone. We got both Uffizi and Accademia tix for three for $54 at ideal times. Thanks again.

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JennO December 1, 2011 at 12:02 am
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Oops, I meant Euro

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LeanneS June 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm
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Still there in June 2012. We couldn’t get tickets online, but found the window and got tickets for both the Uffizi and Accademia the very next day. Since the queues were dreadful, we were thrilled. Thank you so much for spreading the word.

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Tarek July 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm
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Was closed when I went: Sunday around 4pm.

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Chris September 18, 2012 at 1:35 am
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Thanks so much for this info!! I was just waiting in line for the Uffizi Gallery and found your blog while searching the net about waiting times. Bought my ticket for €15 euro and will be in in 45 minutes instead of 5-6 hours :) . The lines are massive. You MUST book tickets in advance.

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devolina October 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm
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Mille grazie!! Not sure how I came across your website but it saved the day! Nine of us had our heart set on seeing David and were devastated to learn there were no tickets until the day after we were planning to leave! I found your website and lo and behold, we got tickets for 15 euros each for an hour later, SCORE!!! Thank you again. I won’t share this with too many folks though…

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Ann October 17, 2012 at 3:44 am
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We were very unfortunate at this office, queued for at least 20 minutes behind a lady speaking Italian to the man in the office, they appeared to have a very long discussion/ argument and then she paid him hundreds of euros and received a roll of tickets. At last we thought – but no ! The man then emerged from the office, closed up, muttered something in Italian to the now very long queue, and walked off down the street with the Italian woman and disappeared into the distance… We gave up and went to buy the tickets at the Accademia where there was a reserved ticket office across the street and we could get in immediately.

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