Uffizi Gallery – Florence
The Uffizi Gallery (Italian: Galleria degli Uffizi or simply Gli Uffizi) is an art museum in Florence, Tuscany, world-renowned for its collections of old masters’ works of art.
With over 2 million visitors a year, the Uffizi Gallery is the most visited state-owned fine art museum in Italy (1).
Though it also holds a collection of Classical sculpture, the Uffizi is predominantly a museum of old masters’ painting, especially Italian.
1) Source: 2017 report, Italian Ministry of Culture,
History and architecture
Located in the heart of Florence, adjacent to the Palazzo Vecchio, the palace which houses the Uffizi Gallery was built between 1560 and 1580, after a design by Giorgio Vasari, as a public administrative building (hence its name, uffizi which means offices in old Tuscan language).
In 1590, a part of the palace was converted into a private exhibition space, known as the galleria, to accommodate the large art collection of the House of Medici and, in 1769, it was transformed into a publicly-open museum. It is believed that the modern term gallery, used to identify a space where works of art are on display, originates from that of the Uffizi’s original galleria.
The imposing Mannerist-style architecture designed by Vasari consists of a large three-story u-shaped building; a monumental enclosed passageway, known as Vasari Corridor (Italian: Corridoio Vasariano), connects the Uffizi building with the Pitti Palace on the opposite side of the Arno river though the Ponte Vecchio.
Uffizi Gallery, east facade on the Piazzale degli Uffizi square, detail; photo © Inexhibit
Uffizi Gallery, first-floor plan; image courtesy of Sinter, Florence
Art collection and permanent exhibition
With a total floor area of about 139,000 square feet, the permanent exhibition of the museum is divided into various chronological sections.
The archaeological section presents classic Greek and Roman artifacts, mostly sculptural works including statues, busts, and sarcophagi.
The Medieval section includes works – paintings, drawings, and sculptures – dating from the 13th century to the early 15th century, including masterpieces by Cimabue, Duccio da Buonisegna, Giotto, and Simone Martini.
The Renaissance art section is one of the most important, if not the most important, in the world. It features works by Piero della Francesca, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Paolo Uccello, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Tintoretto, Titian, Andrea Mantegna, Perugino – almost all masters of Italian Renaissance are represented -, as well as international artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Lukas Cranach, Hans Holbein the younger, and Hans Memling.
The museum also includes a room specifically exclusively dedicated to Caravaggio
Other sections of the Uffizi’s permanent exhibition are those focused on the art of the 17th and 18th century, with works by Velázquez, El Greco, Goya, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Peter Paul Rubens, Antony van Dyck, Rembrandt vs Rijn, Annibale Carracci, Tiepolo, and Canaletto, among many others.
Finally, the Gabinetto delle stampe (Cabinet of Prints) comprises over 150,000 drawings and etchings, also by Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci.
Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, ca. 1482-1485, tempera on canvas; photo: Pietro Zanarini
Visiting the Uffizi
The Uffizi Gallery building includes a library, a shop, and a (pretty expensive) cafe-restaurant; the museum is accessible to physically impaired people, though with some limitations due to its historical structure, and features special tactile tours for visually impaired persons.
The museum also includes a highly reputed art restoration center.
The Uffizi ‘s program mostly features special events, guided tours, and temporary exhibitions.
Due to the many tourists that visit the Uffizi every day, booking your visit in advance is not mandatory but highly recommended, since it allows you to enter the museum through the fast track lane and skip the (often enormous) waiting line. The official online booking and ticketing service of the museum is available at https://www.uffizi.it/en/tickets.
At the weekend the museum is usually overcrowded, our suggestion is to visit it on weekdays if you can.
The Uffizi’s southern facade on the Arno riverside; photo: Sara de Prado
Uffizi gallery, the western wing portico on the Piazzale degli Uffizi square; photo © Inexhibit
Uffizi Gallery, room 1, Medieval painting, in the middle: crucifix by an unknown artist from Pisa, late 12th – early 13th century; photo courtesy of Polo Museale Fiorentino
The Vasari Corridor; photo: ctj71081
The Niobe room; photo: Dimitris Kamaras
Piero della Francesca, The Duke and Duchess of Urbino Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza, ca. 1465- 1472, oil on panel; photo: foto amateur
Leonardo da Vinci, Annunciation, ca, 1472 – 1475, oil on panel; photo: Barry Wise
Michelangelo Buonarroti, Doni Tondo, 1503-1504, oily tempera on panel; it is the only known panel painting ever made by Michelangelo; photo: Victor R. Ruiz
Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi), Bacchus, ca.1595, oil on canvas; photo: Carole Raddato
Cover image: the Piazzale degli Uffizi square looking towards the Palazzo Vecchio; photo: Chris Wee
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copyright Inexhibit 2021 - ISSN: 2283-5474