Among the sights of Florence, the Uffizi Gallery occupies a special place, where one of the richest and most significant world collections of European art from the 13th-20th centuries is located. Its significance is already evidenced by the fact that the Gallery is considered the most visited museum in Italy, and to admire its collection, about one and a half million people come to Florence annually.
BlogoItaliano already wrote that Uffizi Gallery in Florence - This is one of the greatest museums in the world, where the works of famous European artists are exhibited. But, in addition to paintings, the museum also has a significant collection of copies and originals of ancient sculptures, interior items of the Renaissance, graphic works.
In total, the gallery has 45 halls, some of which are dedicated to the work of individual artists. Preference is given, of course, to the creators of the Renaissance: Giotto, Botticelli, Titian, Caravaggio. The museum’s collection also contains works by German, French and Flemish artists, as well as a rich collection of self-portraits.
Uffizi Gallery: the history of the office building and the old bridge
In 1559, the ruler of Florence Cosimo I de Medici urgently needed to build a new building to house the court and administrative services: there was no longer enough space for officials and their papers in the palaces of the Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti.
One of the greatest masters of that time was involved in the project, leaving behind himself, in addition to samples of his work, the beautiful book “Biographies of famous artists, sculptors and architects” - Giorgio Vasari.
Tourists from all over the world come to see priceless paintings in Florence
By 1560, construction of the gallery began, in which it was planned to place officials - Galleria degli Uffizi (uffizi - offices, ital.). The building was designed as a horseshoe: 2 wings stretched towards Signoria Square. The box connecting them, with hanging gardens and the proposed theater on the 2nd floor, overlooked the river.
Along the way, Vasari designed over the Arno River and the "air corridor" from the Palazzo Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti. It was also a gallery, but already over the Old Bridge (Ponte Vecchio), long and firmly built up, according to the good medieval tradition, with the houses and houses of merchants and artisans.
The idea of erecting it came from the duke himself, who was just tired of punching his way through crowds of fellow citizens each time, heading to one of the palaces.
Some exhibits are displayed at the top of the Ponte Vecchio bridge.
In those days, morals were simpler than the scriptwriters of films about the Middle Ages imagine, and no one fell down before the duke of the free city. But risking every time, even surrounded by guards, Cosimo did not smile.
And the smell of meat and leather shops could knock down even such a seasoned warrior as a duke. However, Cosimo I of Medici still mentally remained with the people. Especially for him, Vasari arranged a series of small auditory ends in the gallery's walls, through which, if not smells, then gossips and rumors of the big city were perfectly heard.
But if the Duke of Cosimo managed to take full advantage of the “air corridor,” then he and the chief architect were not destined to wait for the blessed hour when the Gallery was finished. Construction was completed only in 1581, under the leadership of Bernardo Buontalenti.
Museum History and Collections
Even during the construction of the Uffizi Gallery, it became clear that a great fate awaits this architectural monument. The project was created by Vasari himself, and the famous Florentine mannerist painter of the second half of the 16th century was involved in the design of the premises. Alessandro Allory and his students.
The Dukes of Medici did not stint on the marble and sculptural decoration of the gallery's interiors. But perhaps the most beautiful of all its rooms was the Buontalenti Tribune, already created - a round hall with a dome richly inlaid with decorative shells, all flooded with light from high windows.
Currently in this room are exhibited "Adoration of the Magi" by S. Botticelli, "The Holy Family" by Michelangelo, "Madonna and Dog with a Goldfinch" and "Portrait of Pope Julius II" by Raphael.
Tribune - one of the most beautiful halls of the Uffizi Gallery
Fate did not take long to wait: already in 1581 the Duke of Francesco I Medici, a passionate collector, ordered: Uffizi Gallery in Florence henceforth it will not be an office building, but a repository of exhibits of the family collection.
The most valuable sculptures and paintings were placed in the Tribune. It is noteworthy that the originals of the sculptures stored in the gallery were taken by the Medici in the Vatican: Pope Pius V did not like the too frivolous poses of some of them, and he preferred to get rid of them in this way.
Since then, the collection of the future public museum has only been replenished both thanks to numerous ducal orders, and due to a family passion for collecting works of art. Very soon, sculptures and paintings in the Uffizi Gallery simply ceased to be placed, and then for an extensive collection of self-portraits of famous artists in the first half of the 17th century. the "air corridor" on Ponte Vecchio was fitted.
Today in this collection there are more than 1630 exhibits: from Raphael and A. Durer to Russian artists of the XIX-XX centuries, including I. Aivazovsky, O. Kiprensky, B. Kustodiev. Towels that are not portraits - about 4000, of which about half are in storage.
In 1737, the last of the Medici clan, the Duchess Anna Maria, donated to the city all the ancestral buildings with the collections stored there, but provided that the sculptures and paintings in the Uffizi Gallery, the Palazzo Vecchio and the Palazzo Pitti never leave the walls of their hometown.
That is why to see the "Spring" and "The Birth of Venus" by S. Botticelli, the "Penitent Maria Magadalina" and the "Venus of Urbino" by Titian, canvases by Verocchio, Giorgione, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, van Dyck and Rembrandt, you can only come to Florence.
Address and Map
The Uffizi Gallery is located at Piazzale degli Uffizi 6. It can be reached on foot from Florence Santa Maria Novella Main Station, following the signs. The road will take about 15-20 minutes.
The Uffizi Gallery is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:15 a.m. to 18:50 p.m., but visitors begin to politely show off a little earlier - from 18:35. Ticket offices in the museum close even earlier - at 18:05.
The gallery is officially closed on Mondays, as well as on major holidays: January 1 and December 25.
It is noteworthy that the Gallery also has an official day for free visits. This is every first Sunday of any month. However, there are a lot of people who want to visit the museum on this day.
The 45 halls of the Gallery host the works of the most famous European artists
Uffizi Gallery Tickets
Although tickets to the Gallery are on sale at the box office, getting here is not as easy as it might seem at first glance.
In addition to tourists who want to see with their own eyes the invaluable paintings of the Renaissance, excursion groups from schools, lyceums and universities of Europe are constantly brought to Florence for educational purposes, that is, in the winter and in the summer, from morning to evening.
Given that strictly no more than 30 people are allowed into the Gallery for 5-10 minutes, standing in a long line leading to the most popular museum in Italy can take several hours. Moreover, the tourist is still lucky if he does not arrive in Florence in the summer, when even the stones of the medieval cobblestone bridge cry from the noon heat.
The Birth of Venus by Botticelli at the Uffizi Gallery
But there is a way out for those who want to avoid the queue - order tickets to the Uffizi Gallery possible in advance. At the same time, you do not need to speak Italian, call the museum itself or the local travel agency. It is enough to have only a bank card and email.
You can make and pay for the order on the GetYourGuide website. Moreover, a ticket purchased in this way also includes the opportunity to visit other thematic exhibitions that are not related to the main collection, which will be held in the Gallery on the day of the visit.
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By the way, the Uffizi Gallery is the undisputed leader on GetYourGuide in terms of the number of tickets purchased in Florence, although along with it, you can also buy tickets for such inaccessible and popular sites as the Last Supper in Milan or the Borghese Gallery in Rome in advance.
In conclusion, a few more recommendations on What time is better to choose to visit the Uffizi Galleryto enjoy the wonderful crowds of tourists around:
- The best time to visit the gallery is Wednesday morning and Thursday, immediately after opening. To be in time for the opening, you can settle in one of the hotels in the immediate vicinity of the Link Gallery.
- in the high season (July to September) you can book tickets to the gallery in the evening, best of all on Tuesday or Friday, when it is open longer than usual;
- We do not recommend planning to visit the gallery during peak hours (10: 00-12: 00), as well as on Tuesday morning, there are a lot of people at this time.
As you can see, you can avoid long queues at the entrance to the Uffizi Gallery, the main thing is to prepare for this visit in advance and in advance book tickets online.
Well, if you are not arriving in Italy via Florence, we also recommend our articles on how to get to the city:
- How to get from Rome to Florence and from Florence to Rome
- How to get from Venice to Florence and / or from Florence to Venice
- How to get from Milan to Florence and from Florence to Milan
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- The most interesting sights of Italy where you can buy tickets online
- Borghese Gallery: Rome's most coveted and inaccessible museum
- Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums: Things to Know
- The Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci: must not be missed in Milan