It will be my birthday soon. As in the past, I try to turn this event into an opportunity to spend some time with my girlfriends.
Once a date is decided (not an easy task!), I book a guided tour with Sabrina
. I have already visited the Uffizi Gallery with her on another occasion and I trust her.
I decided to put myself in the shoes of a English speaking person and try to book the tickets. I am pretty sure he/she will rely on Google.co.uk
I open the search engine, and I type: Tickets Uffizi.
The names of the sites and the links are written with _ instead of.
I am not surprised to see that the top 4 results are ads.
The inner yard of the Uffizi Gallery museum
This means that:
MUSEMENT_COM, a travel agency in Milan
FLORENCE_MUSEUM_TICKETS_COM, Italian Museum Tickets, a Italian tour operator offering museum tickets and touristic tours for various italian cities (it's how they describe themselves on this site)
FLORENCE-MUSEUM_COM, "TuscanyAll.com is a Travel Agency authorized by the Florence Chamber of Commerce, according to the Italian and European laws and standards. Its activity is based on the experience of its founding members in the internet and tourism industry".
VIATOR_COM, a TripAdvisor Company
paid Google to appear at the top with words like the one I used for my search. By typing "tickets Uffizi Florence" or "Uffizi tickets" the results might have been different.
The first of the real list, what experts call "organic search results" will be the Uffizi official company then? Well. No.
The first place goes to
UFFIZI_COM Despite its name the domain belongs to the Spanish agency, Mediatour_es.
The second and third places are
UFFIZI_ORG. I am already familiar with this company. When doing my search in Italian, this site owned by WebPromoter SNC, is the first "honest" agency, the one that clearly states they are NOT official. They write: "We are not the official site nor have a direct connection to the Uffizi Gallery museum".
The fourth place belongs to
TRIPADVISOR_CO_UK on a very informative page. In my search in Italian I got a forum page, in my German one, to the attraction page.
On the fifth place I find
TICKITALY_COM, a travel agency fom Empoli, not far from La Scuola di Furio!
Sixth place for B-TICKET_COM. They declare to be "Biglietteria ufficiale di Uffizi, Accademia, Cappelle Medicee e degli altri Musei Statali Fiorentini". In Italian. Will it be true? It is, but why it has this strange name? Why can't I find its VAT number (in Italy it is mandatory to have it on the home page. The home page sadly is "under construction". If I were a foreigner, I would RUN from this site. They have a very difficult (bottom right of the page) to find English version.
Number 7 for VISITFLORENCE_COM owned by WebPromoter SNC, aka the first "honest" agency.
Again TRIPADVISOR_COM taking me to the Attraction review page, then
RICKSTEVES_COM with a detailed and informative page, rich of good advice.
The last organic result on the first page of Google is FLORENCE-MUSEUM_COM (one of the advertised results page).
At the bottom of the page, I find 3 more ads:
EXPEDIA-CO-UK, an internet travel booking engine
TICKETSFLORENCE_COM that belongs to Italy Travels Srl, a Florence travel agency
UFFIZI-GALLERY-TOUR.ITALYXP_COM belonging to Italy eXPerience s.r.l., a Sicilian travel company.
Well, I need a break now! I have so much confusion in my head.
My little group consists of 6 adults and 2 children aged 8 and 6 years.
I will try to buy tickets for us from all of these companies!
I start with
MUSEMENT_COM, the travel agency from Milan.
Musement_com starts with a beautiful picture, the Birth of Venus, by Sandro Botticelli
It gives me a beautiful first impression, showing me the Venus by Botticelli and other masterpieces from the Uffizi Gallery and a heart on the tab. The site is bright and has clean lines. There are also user reviews!
I choose "jump-the-queue tickets". I select my date, my favorite time of the day, the number of adults and children. It is very user friendly. It takes nothing to know the price for 6 adults and 2 children will be 135,00 euro. I would now need to register to confirm the sale, but I will not. The process seems smooth and easy, though!
Reserve here your museum tickets and enjoy your visit without queues!
FLORENCE_MUSEUM_TICKETS_COM, the Italian tour operator.
The site doens't look "fashionable" but it is very informative, offering various different services (also VIP tours!). Also on here it is quick and easy to find out the price for 6 adults and 2 children: 219,50 euro. Of course, I should register and put my credit card details. Not now.
FLORENCE_MUSEUM_TICKETS_COM 219,50 euro!
FLORENCE-MUSEUM_COM The site looks nice and clean.
One of the agencies offering a fair ticket price for the Uffizi Gallery
I select a date and two different times of the day. Then I write that I need 6 full tickets and 2 "free" tickets. It stikes me that a "free" ticket for the girls costs 7,75 euro! A couple of more clicks (I have to tick that I have read the booking conditions and I approve them by clicking "confirm") to find out the total price for us! 137,00 euro! Not bad but I selected "museum tickets", then I read: "Please note: at the entrance of the museum or at the meeting point with the guide, the voucher must be presented on a printed copy or displayed on your mobile phone or tablet." and I find this could be misleading, there is no guide, just the tickets for us.
I expect a lot from VIATOR_COM.
This site will be the most expensive site in my search for the "perfect" Uffizi Gallery tickets!
The site look nice, I could have an "Insider's Guide to Florence", too! I go for the "Skip the Line: Florence Uffizi Gallery Tickets". This service has more than 4 stars and 494 reviews! Well, I know I expected a lot but 224,00 euro is WAY too much!
Let's see what UFFIZI_COM has for us! It directs to a clear page, where I can immediately choose my date, then my favourite time of the day, then add the persons I would like to buy the tickets for. The first result adds automatically the "Uffizi Gallery Audio Guide". I dont' need it, so I tick this option off and my price drops to 163,92 euro.
UFFIZI_ORG opens with a carousel of beautiful art and panoramic pictures of the Uffizi Gallery. I'm not surprised that it is on the second and third organic result because the text is well written, optimized for search engines (no, it's not a fault). All my appreciation goes to Uffizi_org! They declare everywhere they are NOT the official website. And here is where my jaw drops! Not only the site shows me that I can also "call +39-055-294-883" to book by phone (sadly the office is closed now, on a Saturday afternoon). It also tells me where to buy, with pros and cons for each option!
This is a very informative and honest site!
Non-refundable, no changes allowed
Institutional website, cheapest option
Not very user-friendly site.
The button at its end is not "book now" but "check". Like it says: We told you its is difficult!
Tickets and guided tours
Refundable, free changes possible, wide availability
Medium and small sized tour groups
The button at its end is "book now"
Tickets and tours
Many tour options, including combo tickets and tours with Accademia
Large and small size tour groups
I choose Florence Tickets as we are a small group. The link takes me to a page full of information: Visit the Uffizi Gallery without queuing up! The Tripadvisor logo, its ratings and reviews, very comforting!
I put all the informatiton and the total on FLORENCE-TICKETS_COM is 159,00 euro.
The TRIPADVISOR_CO_UK page there are tons of useful information! Here you can read: "When booking by telephone there are many more pros: It is quick and easy (there is an English option); you speak to an actual human being; you do not need to pay upfront, you simply reserve your timed entry with a booking number; there are many more times and dates offered by phone than online. For these reasons, booking by telephone is highly recommended." I do agree. But I am Italian and I prefer to have a piece of paper instead than just a code...
TICKITALY_COM The site looks old, the name makes me feel itchy BUT it is efficient.
A very easy to navigate site.
It takes only a few clicks to find that I would spend 151,00 euro buying the tikets here.
B-TICKET_COM I switch to language to English, then I select BUY on the Uffizi Gallery box. I am now on "the ticketing official website for State Florentine museums" (sic). I click on buy. The page changes and I have to select again English as my language (this time top right). I select my date. I proceed confidently. I need tickets for 6 adults and 2 children. I see a traffic light: red is for "sold out", yellow "remaining tickets availble" (sic) and green "available".The whole page is green! GOOD!
The Official Uffizi Galleries site
I go on choosing a time of the day and putting the information (6 adults+ 2 children). 107 euro! Good. The site gives me 20 minutes to close the sale! More than enough? Maybe... While other sites were fast, they wanted my money and then I do not know, the official site wants to know who I am first.
While filling only essential data, on the screen I read a reassuring "You can conclude in fast mode this order, but subsequent accesses to the system you will need to log in with your email and password you just received and which you can later edit Personal Area." I do not feel reassured at all! At least, I get the password quickly and now I can log on the site to go on with the sale. There is a link on the email and although signed "Florentine Museums" comes from info@ bassilichi_it, Who is this!?!?!? The current exhibition brought the price of admission per adult to 16,50 euro (warning, there is ALWAYS an exhibition going on, the starting price of 8,00 euro is almost NEVER available.
VISITFLORENCE_COM directs to UFFIZI_ORG (see above).
RICKSTEVES_COM is full of useful information.
FLORENCE-MUSEUM_COM (see above).
3 more to go and explore!
EXPEDIA-CO-UK is so English I need to go on the Italian website to have the prices in euro.
Skip the Line using this site (and ALL of other sites!)
As in the British version, I am given 2 times of the day and 2 option, citizen of the European Community or not. As we are in the EC, the price for us is 163,72 euro.
TICKETSFLORENCE_COM is a nice site that delivers the total price in very few clicks. 139,00 euro!
UFFIZI-GALLERY-TOUR.ITALYXP_COM is colorful and full of proposals. I look and look but I only can find private, semi private or group tours, not what I am looking for!
At 107,00 euro, the cheapest tickets can be found on the official website B-TICKET_COM, (also advised by TRIPADVISOR_CO_UK, RICKSTEVES_COM and the "honest" UFFIZI_ORG).
MUSEMENT_COM, 135,00 euro.
FLORENCE-MUSEUM_COM 137,00 euro
TICKETSFLORENCE_COM 139,00 euro
TICKITALY_COM 151,00 euro
FLORENCE-TICKETS_COM 159,00 euro
EXPEDIA-CO-UK 163,72 euro.
UFFIZI_COM 163,92 euro.
FLORENCE_MUSEUM_TICKETS_COM 219,50 euro.
So you can expect a rocky patch with the official website, but you will get the cheapest tickets. You can spend from less +27% to +109%! The user experience is important, but also money is! Watch out and enjoy your time in Florence, Tuscany!