There’s something for everyone at these under-the-radar museums in Florence and Tuscany
If you’re planning a trip to Tuscany, you likely already have stops at some of Florence’s world-famous museums, like the Uffizi Gallery and Galleria dell’Accademia, on your itinerary.
As the epicenter of the Renaissance art movement in Italy, where the wealthy and powerful Medici family were voracious art patrons and collectors, Florence is known for having some of the most preeminent art museums in Italy. What you may not know is that the whole region of Tuscany is full of lovely, lesser-known museums filled with unique collections worth exploring.
And you don’t even have to be an art lover to appreciate a good museum. Are you shoe-obsessed? A soccer fan? A truffle lover? We’ve got recommendations for all of that and more!
Whatever your personal preference and travel style, here are 8 hidden gem museums across Tuscany that are worth a visit:
If you appreciate the finer things in life, tour the Truffle Museum in San Giovanni d'Asso
Hidden in the cellars of a 14th-century castle, this museum explores one of the most prized food products on earth: truffles, or as we like to call it, tartufo. Come here for a multisensory stroll through the tastes, techniques and traditions behind truffles.
Piazza Antonio Gramsci, 1, San Giovanni d'Asso
If you have a walk-in closet full of shoes, visit the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence
Shoe lovers can’t miss a stop at this museum dedicated to the designer who created iconic footwear for movie stars from the 1920s until his death in 1960. The cozy museum inside the company’s headquarters packs in thousands of pairs of gorgeous shoes from the company’s archives into its nine rooms.
Piazza di Santa Trinita, 5R, Florence
If you majored in anthropology like Giada, visit the National Archaeological Museum of Florence
History buffs will appreciate the archaeological treasures to uncover within the Palazzo della Crocetta, where this museum is housed, like Etruscan and Roman artifacts found during archaeological digs in Tuscany alongside Egyptian hieroglyphics and mummies, ancient Greek vases, and more. Bonus: If you’ve also visited the Uffizi Gallery on your trip, entry here is free when you show your Uffizi ticket!
Piazza Santissima Annunziata, 9B, Florence
If you loved Gaudí on your last trip to Spain, see Il Giardino dei Tarocchi in Capalbio
This sculpture garden in the small town of Capalbio might remind you of Barcelona’s Park Güell, but the whimsical works here were designed by French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle, whose expressive monumental sculptures were inspired by Gaudí’s approach to art after her own visit to the Spanish city.
Località Garavicchio Pescia Fiorentina, Capalbio
If you’re a football fan (the European kind), stop by the Museo del Calcio in Florence
Soccer fans will score big at this museum, which explores the history of soccer in Italy and, particularly, their national football team. It’s located at the Centro Tecnico Federale, which is the training ground of Italy’s national football team, and the collection includes memorabilia like medals, cups, shoes, balls, and old kits (uniforms, for those who don’t speak soccer).
Viale Aldo Palazzeschi, 20, Florence
If you’re the handy one around the house, visit the Museo Leonardiano in Vinci
Awaken your inner engineer and witness models of many of the machines that Leonardo da Vinci, the quintessential Renaissance man, invented himself. They’re all on display in his hometown of Vinci, alongside his paintings and sketches of machine mechanisms to showcase da Vinci’s inventive spirit.
Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, 26, Vinci
Credit: Daderot | CC BY-SA 3.0
If you watch a little too much Grey’s Anatomy, see the Le Specola Anatomical Collection in Florence
Considered the oldest public museum in Europe, this started as a personal collection held by the Medici Family and contains the largest wax anatomical collection in the world. If you’re in the health field or love medical dramas, the wax models’ exposed veins, organs and muscles are a sight to see. This one isn’t for the faint of heart!
Note: The museum is temporarily closed for refurbishment but plans to reopen in late 2023. Check the site before planning your visit.
Via Romana, 17, Florence
If you’re still searching for your knight in shining armor, head to Museo Stibbert in Florence
You’ll get a feel for medieval times when you see the collection of weaponry, artworks, and armor collected by 19th-century British businessman Frederick Stibbert, in whose former home this museum now lives. There are life-sized European and Ottoman knights staged in military formation and even Japanese armor and swords that belonged to real samurai.
Via Federigo Stibbert, 26, Florence