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feb 10

Is Florence's new museum card really worth $68?

(Courtesy Firenze Turismo)

With a dizzying number of masterpieces in its compact historic center, Florence just might be the world's greatest art destination. So it's about time the city got its own discounted museum card like those in London, Rome, and Paris. The only question is whether it's been worth the wait.

The Firenze Card, which should be available as of February 18*, covers admission to 33 participating museums, villas, and gardens over 72 hours (three days) at a cost of €50 per person, which currently translates to $68.

My initial reaction was that the price sounded high. In New York, admission costs have been creeping up to the $20 mark at museums like MoMA and the Whitney, but Florence looks cheap in comparison. Entrance to the Uffizi starts at €6.50 ($9)—higher if you opt for timed admission—and it costs the same amount to see the David at the Accademia; the Museo Archeologico and the Museo di San Marco are priced at €4 ($5.50) each.

I called Antonio Ugolini, who works for the Florence tourism board, to get some context. He was enthusiastic about the card's launch, but admitted the price tag could raise some eyebrows. Antonio pointed out that the card also covers public transportation (typically €1.20 for a single ride) as well as fees for any special exhibits—and allows cardholders to skip the lines. Kids under 18 get in free with a cardholding adult.*

When I questioned the three-day timeframe—Paris offers 60 museums over four days for the same €50 price—Antonio countered that tourists only spend an average of three days in Florence. (If you're planning an extended visit, consider the Amici degli Uffizi card which grants admission to 22 sites over a calendar year for €60 per person or €100 for a family of four.)

If you expect to spend at least €17 ($23) per day between public transport and visits to museums, villas, and gardens, then the Firenze Card is for you. Here's another way of calculating it. Let's say you fit in three sites per day: the Uffizi, the Accademia, the Museo Archeologico, the Museo di San Marco, Santa Maria Novella, the Cappelle Medicee, the Boboli Gardens, the Bargello, and the Palazzo Medici Riccardi. The standard admission costs would total €46.70. Compare that to the €50 Firenze Card, with public transportation and special exhibits included and no long lines, and it starts to be a good value.

But how much art can you handle over three days? Would you purchase the new Firenze Card?

Share your opinion below and check out a complete list of the 33 participating sites and the standard admission for each.

*UPDATED on 2/22: Antonio of Florence's tourism board reached out to say that the card launch has been delayed and is now targeted for between March 1-25, 2011. The card will be sold at major museums like the Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, and the Accademia and two tourism offices (Piazza Stazione 4 and Borgo Santa Croce 29r). He also corrected his earlier statement: only kids who are members of the European Union get free admission/transportation with a card-holding adult. Sounds to me like two strikes against the museum card...

<a href=">Palazzo Vecchio €6

Museo Stefano Bardini €5

Museo di Santa Maria Novella €2.70

Cappella Brancacci €4

Fondazione Salvatore Romano €2.20

Cappelle Medicee €6

Galleria degli Uffizi €6.50

Galleria dell'Accademia €6.50

Galleria Palatina combined with Galleria d'arte moderna €11.50

Museo Giardino di Boboli €6

Museo degli Argenti €6

Museo delle Porcellane €7

Galleria del Costume €7

Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Firenze €4

Museo dell'Opificio delle Pietre Dure €2

Museo di Palazzo Davanzati free

Museo di San Marco €4

Museo Nazionale del Bargello €4

Palazzo Medici Riccardi €7

Cenacolo di Andrea del Sarto free

Cenacolo del Ghirlandaio free

Cenacolo di Fuligno free

Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia free

Chiostro dello Scalzo free

Complesso Monumentale Orsanmichele free

Villa Medicea di Cerreto Guidi e Museo storico della caccia e del territorio free

Villa medicea delle Petraia free

Giardino della Villa medicea di Castello free

Museo di Casa Martelli free

Collezione Contini Bonacossi free

Villa medicea di Poggio a Caiano free

Villa Corsini a Castello free

PREVIOUSLY

Florence: What to do with kids and teens

Florence challenges Rome for Michelangelo's David

Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com


Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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