The U shaped Uffizi Gallery
(Picture 1) (tel.055 238 86 51; Piazzale degli
Uffizi 6; open 8.15am, to 6.35pm, Tue-Sun, to 9pm Tue Jul-Sep) houses
1555 works of art in about 50 rooms. A tour can take about 4 hours to
complete it if you want to see it all. There is a condensed but complete audio guide lasting 85 minutes to show you
around the gallery.
Reservations are highly recommended as queuing can be very extensive especially during peak season.
commission of the building was given to Vasari by Cosimo I to
house the offices of the different guilds, members of the judiciary
system and administrators. Vasari also planned the Corridoio Vasariano
connecting the Uffizzi, Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti (soon
available for visitors after restoration is finished).
When Vasari died, the building was under the direction of Alfonso Parigi and Bernardo Buontalent
The construction, which underwent modifications to house the collection
of the family, was finished in 1580. the collection was left to
Florence by Anna Maria de ’Medici
in her will on the condition that it could never be moved to any other town.
This museum can be included among the best in Italy and in fact worldwide.
Museo Nazionale del Bargello and Museo Archeologico have some pieces from
its collection and the Uffizi has received collections from other
museums. The 1993 mafia car bomb, with a casualty rate of 5 people,
damaged some pieces as well as catalogues.
At present there is a
project to be finished by 2013 to double the display rooms. The
project, a very large investment, is under Arato Isozaki’s direction.
collection follows an arrangement according to school and in
chronological order beginning with Ancient Greece, continuing with
Renaissance and finishing in 18th century Venetian painting. Its
catalogue can be seen online at www.virtualuffizi.com
collection is exhibited on the 3rd floor in rooms along corridors 1
and 3. Corridor number 2 leads to a loggia, a vantage point from where to see
the Ponte Vecchio and the Corridoio Vasariano.
Different rooms are
closed depending on the day. The information as to which are
available can be found at the ticket booth and main entrance to the gallery, or online www.polomuseale.firenze.it/english
of art by 13th and 14th century Tuscan artists are exhibited in the
first room on the left. Its three altarpieces which were in churches in
Florence are displayed here. They were made by Duccio di Buoninsegna
Cimabue and Giotto. Giotto’s masterpiece created over two decades later
than the other two artists’ pieces show the change from Gothic to
As the previous one, the following room houses pieces from the 14th century Sienese school. Among its best pieces is the Annunciation
by Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi made in 1333 whose Mary is surrounded
by a golden sea. Here is also Pietro Lorenzetti’s Madonna with Child and Saints
triptych showing touches of realism like Giotto’s.
following room devoted to 14th century Florentine artists is a magical cave of
realist paintings with strokes of gold leaves and tiny details.
Among them is San Reminio Pietà
, painted between 1360 and 1365.
An enormous room divided into Rooms 5 and 6
holds International Gothic pieces. The highlight is the Adoration of the Magi by Gentile da Fabriano, painted in 1423. Room 7
devoted to those who in the first part of the 15th century devoted themselves to
improving and including perspective in their artwork, bringing this new innovation to the Renaissance. It can be seen in the Battle of San Romano
Of the three panels, only one is here, another is in Paris and the last
one in London. The picture depicts Florence defeating Siena and
perspective is successfully achieved, apparent in the way the lances, horses and soldiers are
Pure humanism appears in the portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino by Piero della Francesca
exhibited in Room 8
Fra Filippo Lippi’s Virgin
and Madonna and Child with two Angels
painted in 1439-47 and 1460-65 respectively hang here. He portrayed himself in the first picture.Room 9
devoted to Antonio and Piero del Pollaiolo. They depicted the seven
cardinal and theological values held and cherished by 15th century
Florence for the merchant’s tribunal in Piazza della Signoria. With the
exception of the value Strength by Botticelli, all of them are
Pollaiollos’. Here also hangs the portrait of Galeazzo Maria Sforza by
Piero and Portrait of a Lady
. 10 to 14
holds Botticelli’s masterpieces, always admired by crowds visiting the museum. Among the favourites are the Adoration of the Magi
(Picture 2), Madonna of the Magnifica
t, Birth of Venus
and Cestello Annunciation
here named in the order they were completed between 1475 and 1489. Between 1495
and 1500 he devoted himself to painting two miniatures: one is Judith
coming back from Holofernes
’ camp and the other depicting Holofernes beheaded.
belongs to Leonardo da Vinci’s first pieces: his Annunciation
painted in 1472 and an unfinished Adoration of the Magi
At present, Room 18
called La Tribuna, where Francesco I started to store his collection,
exhibits the Medici portraits hanging on elegant red upholstered
o’s depiction of Cosimo I’s family is considered among the most attractive.
Renaissance artists from northern Europe are represented in rooms 20 to 23
. Among the pieces are the Adoration of the Mag
i by Dürer
, Adam and Ev
e by Cranach the Elder and Madonna and Child Enthroned with Two Angels
by Hans Memling.
Corridor 3 begins with Room 25
where the picture of the Holy Family hangs. It was commissioned to
Michelangelo by Agnolo Doni and acquired by the Medici family about 100 years after it was created. Its colours are as bright as they were many years ago. Room 26
is devoted to Raphael and Andrea del Sarto. Madonna of the Goldfinch
and Pope Leo X with Giulio de’Medici and Luigi de’ Medici
Venetian artists are represented in Room 28
among which are 11 pieces by Titian, the Venus of Urbino
and Eleonora Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino
It is impossible for Madonna of the Long Neck
by Parmigianino not to draw all the attention in Room 29
. The following rooms are for Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto, Rubens and Rembrandt.
The Niobe Room
, which is number 42
, is devoted to the 4th century BC statues of Niobe and her Children
, which were in turn reproductions of Greek originals.
Caravaggio and his school are represented on the first floor with pieces such as Bacchus
dating both to the end of 16th century and Judith slaying Holofernes
by Artemisia Gentileschi
(1620-21). Caravaggio as well as Gentileschi used
the contrast of light and dark giving their pieces an innovative and