The Uffizi Gallery is the most famous museum in Florence which collection of Renaissance paintings housed in the sixteenth century palace is unrivaled. The museum contains works of the most famous painters of the era such as Michelangelo, da Vinci and Botticelli.
The Uffizi Palace was built between 1560 and 1580 to house the administration of the government of grand duke Sosimo I de’ Medici. The structure was designed by Giorgio Vasari who created a U-shaped building with two long galleries connected by a short, arcaded gallery which opens up towards the Arno River. This construction created a long courtyard, the Piazza degli Uffizi. The facades of the Uffizi bordering the courtyard are decorated with niches containing statues of important historical figures.
In 1565 the building was connected with the adjacent Palazzo Vecchio and with the Palazzo Pitti across the river. In 1583 the Uffizi was also connected with the terrace of the Loggia dei Lanzi. These connections allowed the Medici rulers attend different events and visit Gallery without leaving the palace.
The largest collection of Renaissance art
The Uffizi Gallery boasts the world’s largest collection of Renaissance art, largely collected by members of the Medici family during the sixteenth centuries. Francesco I de’ Medici decided to use the upper floor of the Uffizi which featured extremely large windows to display the family’s collection of artwork thus creating the world’s oldest art gallery. His successors kept expanding the collection until 1737 Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici donated the works of art to the citizens of Florence.
The Medici often employed local artists so all the important Tuscan artists are represented here including Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Other masters like Raphael, Caravaggio, Rubens and Rembrandt are also well represented. Some of the most famous works in the gallery are ‘Birth of Venus’ by Botticelli and the portraits of the duke and duchess of Urbino which are considered the first Renaissance portraits.
There is also a collection of Roman statues and Gothic paintings from the 13th and 14th centuries in the museum.
Location: Loggiato degli Uffizi 6, Florence
Tel.: 055 238 8651
Nearby sights: Loggia dei Lanzi, Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria
How to get there: Take train to the central Santa Maria Novella station, the the gallery can easily be reached on foot (about 10 minutes)
Official website: http://www.uffizi.beniculturali.it/index.php?en/171/uffizi-gallery
Entry fee: Regular price: € 8.00. Reduced price: € 4.00. Free admission on the first Sunday of each month.
Opening hours: From Tuesday to Sunday: 8.15 am – 6.50 pm. Closed: on Mondays, 1 January, 1 May, 25 December