Things to do in Uffizi Gallery
Cosimo I de Medici, Tuscany’s first Grand Duke, initiated the Uffizi project in 1560 to create administrative space for Florence (‘Uffizi’ means ‘offices’). He commissioned famed architect Giorgio Vasari, who added a secret corridor to the Pitti Palace (which you can visit today) and demolished other ancient buildings. The arches and columns you see on Via deal Ninna are remains of the Romanesque church of San Pier Scheraggio.
The building first became a gallery in 1581, when Francesco I de Medici established a private collection in the octagonal Tribuna room. The family then added to this collection until they died out in the eighteenth century. It wasn’t until 1789 that the public was first allowed access to the gallery. These days, the Uffizi and the Vatican museums in Rome are the two most visited museums in Italy (the Uffizi itself attracts a million people annually). As a result, the Uffizi is currently being modernized by architect Arata Isozaki to increase space and access. It remains open throughout the process.
- 8.15am-6.50pm Sunday to Tuesday
- Summer opening: until 10.00pm
- CLOSED on Mondays and 1 January, 1 May, 25 December
- FREE on the first Sunday of each month
About the Uffizi
The Uffizi is so crammed with astounding art that you might want to spend some time planning a strategy. What are your interests? What do you really want to see? If you’re not a hardcore art fan, perhaps your main focus will be the most famous works by stars such as Leonardo, Raphael, Caravaggio and Michelangelo. Fortunately, the gallery is well organized in a series of corridors and rooms filled by artworks from particular artists, periods or artistic movements. Often, the rooms themselves are as amazing as the art. For example, there are rooms for Sienese and Florentine and Venetian painting. There are also rooms for each of those stars mentioned above, as well as Botticelli, Rubens, Bellini and Veronese.
You’ll also find collections of maps and archeological pieces. The various corridors are architectural delights in their own right, usually offering sculpture illuminated by daylight from the large windows. Don’t forget to look up – the historic ceilings are an artwork in their own right. It’s also important to remember that much of the Uffizi’s art was originally created for a specific purpose or location. That’s why it’s worth visiting the Church of San Pier Scheraggio, where you can see religious paintings in situ. For an old museum, the Uffizi has a very modern approach. Check in advance what new or traveling exhibitions may be featuring during your visit and you may get the chance to see something really special.
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
- By train
- Santa Maria Novella
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