Uffizi Museum: What to Expect at Uffizi Gallery
The House of Medici put Florence on the world map - a wealthy banking family that made the city a centre of power and finance. Rising to power in the 13th century, the Medici family helmed by Cosimo de’ Medici was a patron of several artists and sculptures and amassed a wealth of artwork. They started housing the artwork in their Uffizi building, which later on became a museum after the end of the Medici family. This collection includes extraordinary works including paintings and sculptures dating from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.
The artists displayed include Giotto, Simone Martini, Piero della Francesca, Beato Angelico, Mantegna, Correggio, Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, and Caravaggio. Today, the Uffizi Gallery is one of the most visited art galleries in the world and over 2 million tourists visit it each year. Here is a guide on how to make the most of your visit to the Uffizi Gallery, what to see, how to get there, and how to skip the line.
History of the Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery was commissioned in 1560 by Cosimo I de Medici, the first Grand Duke of Tuscany to house the administrative and legislative offices of Florence. The word ‘Uffizi’ itself means Offices and the building was designed as a U-Shaped structure, resembling a streetscape. The long corridor ends at the River Arno where you can view the Ponte Vecchio through a screen. The architect of the building was Giorgio Vasari, who also designed a unique corridor that would connect Uffizi to the Pitti Palace over the Ponte Vecchio.
Right from 1581, the top floor was used to house the artworks and collections of the family. The collection kept growing and the top floor was divided into rooms to store the artworks properly. In 1743, the last Medici, Anna Maria Luisa de Medici signed the Family Pact which bequeathed everything to the state of Tuscany and guaranteed that none of the artwork would leave Florence. The museum as we know it was opened in 1769, although a few works have been shifted to other museums in Florence. The New Uffizi Project made sure that new rooms were added and more collections were on display.
Uffizi Museum: Floor Plan
The Ground Floor of the Uffizi Gallery is functional and does not actually have any rooms that contain artworks or exhibitions. This is also the floor for the entrances and exit, plus a host of other utilities. Right near the entrance is an audioguide station where you can purchase your audioguides. There is also a bookshop where you can buy multilingual guidebooks to help you explore the gallery. You can also store small luggage at the cloakroom near the entrance.
Once you finish both the first and second floor of the Uffizi gallery you will come down the exit where you can find a bookshop filled with souvenirs and books about the Uffizi Gallery. There is also a post office for sending souvenirs post cards and an ATM near the exit on the ground floor.
You will be spending your time on the first floor after visiting the second floor of the Uffizi Gallery. This floor has a smaller collection of exhibits that are essentially divided into four sections. The Blue rooms ranging from 46 to 55 showcase foreign artists mainly from the 16th to 18th century. These artists include Dutch artists like Rembrandt, Schalken and Gerrit Dou, Spanish artists like Goya and Ribera, and French artists like Chardin, Fabre and Liotard.
The Red Rooms ranging from 56 to 66 include paintings and marble sculptures. The artists showcased in these rooms include Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, Rosso Fiorentino, Pontormo, Vasari and Allori. The rooms 90 to 93 are known as Carravaggesque Rooms and include the works of Caravaggio and his acquaintances. On this floor is also the Balcony over the Arno, a long corridor with three magnificent sculptures – Medici Vase, Mars Gravidus and Silenus.
Your visit to the Uffizi Gallery begins on the second floor and there are 45 rooms on this floor. The numbering of the rooms starts from 1 and goes on till 45. All the rooms are along a U-shaped floor plan flanked alongside three corridors. The second floor is where the main collection of the Uffizi Gallery is showcased and includes a variety of art work from antique statues to paintings belonging to the Medici Collection.
You will find Leonardo Da Vinci’s works including the Adoration of Magi and The Baptism of Christ. One of the major collections is that of Botticelli, more than 15 works are displayed including Birth of Venus and La Primavera. There is a room of miniatures, relics in the archaeology room, a room of ancient maps and other artworks including those of masters like Lippi, Pollaiolo, Perugino, Signorelli, Bellini, Giorgione, Mantegna and Correggio.
Uffizi Gallery Architecture
Uffizi Museum is a rare gallery where even the architecture of the venue is considered as important as the art. Some pieces of the architecture to look out for include the following:
- Staircase leading to the gallery: This opulent staircase is divided into two parts. The first was designed by Vasari in the Florentine Renaissance style and stops at the first floor. The second part leads to the gallery floor and is designed in NeoClassical form.
- The Uffizi Palace: Perhaps one of the most important pieces of Italian architecture from the 16th century, this was designed by Giorgio Vasari to house the offices (“uffizi”) of the magistrates of Florence. Created in Classical style, the space is open and bright.
- The Gallery Corridors: The three corridors on the top floor of the Uffizi Museum feature frescoes that date back to 1550-1700 ca.
- The Tribune: Created in the early 1580s by Bernardo Buontalenti, the Tribune is an octagonal room that was designed in a way that alluded to the four elements.
Art at Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery is renowned across the world for its incredible collection. Be it paintings, sculptures, prints, artefacts, or others, the Uffizi Museum does not disappoint. Some of its most famous artworks include:
Explore Uffizi Museum
The Uffizi Gallery is the perfect place to introduce young ones to art and art history. The museum offers educational projects for school groups and students of all ages. Note that school groups accompanied by teachers from the EU require booking, but can enter for free. You can also opt for virtual learning, where a maximum of 10 students can virtually meet with a representative of the Department of Education and discuss art.
For more details you can contact Uffizi museum directly.
You Annual Pass gives you access to the Uffizi Museum for €70 for a year from the date chosen at the time of issue. You will get unlimited access to Uffizi Museum, Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Gardens, National Archaeological Museum, and the Museum of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.