Guide To Visiting The Uffizi Gallery in Florence

How To Sample the Delights of the Uffizi, Florencene

Uffizi Gallery Florence

The legendary Uffizi Gallery in Florence is considered one of the world’s oldest art museums and possesses what may be the greatest collection of Renaissance art found anywhere. The Uffizi was built in 1560 for the ruling Medici family to serve as a complex of offices, hence the gallery’s name – uffizi, meaning offices in Florentine.

Over the years the family amassed a vast collection of paintings, sculptures and commissions, which were used to decorate the offices. Taking up increasing amounts of space, it ultimately becoming the sole purpose for the building. When the family line finally came to an end, the last remaining relative, Anna Maria Luisa left the art works to the people of Florence. In 1765 the Uffizi Gallery opened its doors to the public and quickly established itself as a must visit location on the Grand Tour.

Most people first experience the Uffizi by milling around outside waiting, where the niches between the decorative pillars containing sculptures of 18th century Italy. Their normal approach is through the Piazza della Signoria where Donatello’s Neptune fountain and a copy of Michelangelo’s David stand.

The other way to the gallery is past Florence’s iconic Ponte Vecchio and along the River Arno, entering the piazza between the Doric columns and into the Uffizi courtyard. However, there is a secret third way. To discover it, take a guided tour along the private corridor that links the Uffizi to the Medici residence, Palazzo Pitti on the south side of the Arno. This route, above the Florentine streets, enabled the Medici to travel unseen, across the Ponte Vecchio and into their offices.

Ponte Vecchio

Once inside, the Uffizi Gallery displays a who’s who of Renaissance artists. They have gathered together a marvelous collection that stretches back to the early Renaissance period featuring works by Cimabue, Giotto, Fra Fillippo, Martini and Uccello. There are also excellent exhibits by masters Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Raphael.

While lovers of the later Mannerists and Baroque painters can delight in the brightly coloured and technically accomplished examples by Titian, Caravaggio and Rembrandt along with rare pieces by the leading female artist of the age, Artemisia Gentilleschi.

The highlight of a tour around the Uffizi is the chance to see some of history’s famous works of art up close. The well-known paintings include Raphael’s Madonna of the Goldfinch, Titan’s painting of Venus of Urbino, the Doni Tondo by Michelangelo, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Leonardo da Vinci’s early piece, the Adoration of the Magi.

Visiting the Uffizi in Florence is a popular tourist attraction and queues can be long, especially during the summer months. To avoid the frustration of waiting around, the best way is to pre-book tickets online.

About The Author:  Here’s the author bio: Mark and his wife Sarah are two Brits that got fed up with the English weather and decided to settle in Italy ten years ago. They’ve bought a country villa in Tuscany and regularly blog about the (mis)adventures of foreigners in Italy.
Photo Credits:  Wikimedia cc

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