The Uffizi Gallery
- Piazzale degli Uffizi
- Full € 8,00
Reduced € 4,00
(during temporary exhibitions, full price becomes € 12,50/6,25)
- If you book online, you have to add booking and online fees
- Opening hours
- Open from 8:15 a.m. to 6:50 p.m. Tuesdays through Sunday, entrance every 15 min
- Days of closure
- Closed on Mondays, January 1, May 1, and December 25
- Botticelli's Primavera and Birth of Venus
- Filippo Lippi's Madonna and Child with Two Angels
- Titian's Venus of Urbino
- Lots of other works, including from the early Masters Cimabue and Giotto, Early Rennaisance pioneers Fra Angelico and Masaccio, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
A brief presentation
Like a very precious treasure, the Uffizi Gallery will grant itself to visitors after some trials: initial incertitude on where to get tickets, lines to get inside, lines at the metal detector, lots of stairs before the access to the top loggia and then… the Gallery will unveil its stunning frescoed ceilings and a long labyrinth of amazing works of art exposed chronologically. This “U” shaped Renaissance building was actually not created as a museum. Cosimo de’ Medici had entrusted his favorite architect Giorgio Vasari to create a grandiose building to host the magistrates, the seats of the Florentine Guilds, a vast theatre and judiciary offices (hence the name “Uffizi” which means offices in Italian).
This is so you understand that these spaces were not "born" as a museum nor inteded to welcome up to 10.000 people a day, which they do now. The halls of the Uffizi at first were only accessible to the Grand Ducal family, servants and only a few selected guests. Guests were welcomed in the top floor of the Uffizi to admire the grandiose collection of Roman sculptures the Medici loved to collect. The art-fond Medicis also collected for centuries manuscripts, gems, coins, cameos and, with Francesco I, there is the first private room dedicated to “any kind of wonder” which includes interesting objects. Buontalenti created for Francesco I an octagonal shaped Tribune to host Francesco’s favorite works of art and jewels. The Tribune is considered the most ancient and precious heart of the Uffizi, still maintaining its original shape from its 1584 construction. The concept of “museum” will be developed by Pieter Leopold of the Lorraines in 1769, when he opened the Uffizi Gallery and its treasures to the public. He would have never imagined that it would become one of the most frequented museums in the world. Serious art lovers should visit the Uffizi at least twice to see all of it!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Considering that the Gallery was not initially meant to be a museum open to numerous visitors, try and be patient if the halls you’ll visit have reduced dimensions, are crowded or not perfectly air conditioned. The Gallery will touch you and take you into an emotional trip back into history organized in chronological order from the 13th to the 18th centuries. In the meantime, excuse the works in progress and closed rooms as the "New Uffizi" project slowly makes renovations and tries to modernize the building while remaining open to the public. At least it isn't closed!
A walk through the Collections
Start from the Gothic painters which include Giotto and Cimabue, who left us some of the largest altarpieces. The magic of the first hall is the sensation to be welcomed inside an antic church, with low lighting reminding us about candle lights. Enjoy a walk by the Hall of Early Renaissance painters (Sala 7) like Paolo Uccello and Masaccio and a special sop in front of the unmistakable Diptych of Urbino by Piero della Francesca. The profile of Federico da Montefeltro is one of the most impressive portraits of the Renaissance. A few steps from the diptych you’ll find the largest hall of the museum, housing the most stunning and breathtaking paintings by Sandro Botticelli (Sala 10-14). Take a seat and stop for a few minutes simply admiring in silence the canvas of the Birth of Venus and the large panel of the Allegory of Spring. The high ceilings of this room are the traces of the antic Medici theater, dismantled last century to adjust the volumes of the Gallery to host the large collection of paintings.
Catch your breath, the next hall (Sala 15) can be one of the most crowded but it contains a must-see work: the one and only completed panel painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Together with the Tondo Doni by Michelangelo and Raphael’s portraits they are considered the apex of the Renaissance productions, described by Vasari as “The School of the World” for any follower painter. Enjoy the great view from the wide windows above San Miniato Church, Bardini Gardens, the Green Koffehaus in Boboli Gardens and last but not least Ponte Vecchio and the Arno river. By this time you will have just seen one fourth of the museum… you still have three long corridors to walk along before the book shop and the exit!
Touring the Uffizi is surely one of the highlights in Florence. The best part of the day is doubtless in the afternoon, if you have the chance, after 4pm once large groups will have already left the museum. Take your own pace, enjoy glancing at the portraits, the views over the hills, the unforgettable privilege of walking through “the Medici offices” with patience and respect for timeless treasures.
For a more detailed "virtual tour" of the main masterpieces at the Uffizi you should stop and admire, especially if time is limited, check out this suggested itinerary.
The Vasari Corridor
Visitors to the Uffizi may also visit the famous Vasari Corridor linking Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi to the Pitti Palace on the other side of the Arno. Over 1 km long, the passage way was commissioned in 1565 by Cosimo I to celebrate the marriage of his son Francesco to Joanna of Austria and was completed in only 6 months. The private corridor enabled the Medici to move freely between the seat of government and their private residence without having an escort and without walking among the commoners on the street. Apart from the delightful views of the city through the corridor's circular windows, its entire length contains a selection of 17th and 18th century paintings, including a unique self-portrait collection of painters. A visit to the corridor has to be booked in advance as only small groups are allowed, accompanied by a guide; for information and bookings, contact Firenze Musei at +39-055-265-4321.
About Elena Fulceri
100% Florentine blood, passionate licensed tour guide and sommelier in training! I studied Italian Renaissance art and sciences in Sydney Australia, Venice, Milan and Florence, where I finally graduated at the Università di Firenze and got my license. Art can truly be accessible, enjoyable and entertaining! "Pure beauty belongs to everybody" as Michelangelo used to say. My motto? Heartfelt, tailor-made Florence.
You might also like:
Did you find this article interesting? Share it!
Questions? The right place to ask is our Forum!
(questions posted on Comments below will no longer receive replies: so post on our Forum!)