Galleria degli Uffizi

Galleria degli Uffizi (10)

To describe the Galleria degli Uffizi and all the collections it houses is a difficult task, as this museum is one of the oldest, most famous and most important in the world. The number of works housed here is simply stunning. 

The first thing we recommend is to program your visit early in the morning in order to avoid some of the longer queues. While this will give you more time to admire the various collections, it is almost impossible to see everything in one visit.

To begin with, it is important to know that it was Francis I who founded the gallery in 1581, installing it on the top floor of the building designed by Vasari. At the time, the building was used as central offices (or "uffizi") from where the Medici oversaw the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. In addition, Vasari built an extended corridor that leaves the Palazzo Vecchio and, passing by the Uffizi and the Ponte Vecchio, arrives at the Palazzo Pitti. This was designed so that the Medici could go from one place to another without being bothered by the people. 

In 1737, Ana Maria Luisa, the last Medici, bequeathed the Uffizi gallery and all the works of art contained therein to the people of Florence.

Today, its 45 rooms are home to some of the most important art collections in the world. In order to facilitate visits, most of these are arranged chronologically and according to the school to which they belonged.

Here you will see works by the leading Florentine painters of the 14th and 15th centuries as well as creations from Germany, Holland and Spain, highlights of which include such artists as Van Dyck and Rubens. 

More specifically, in Rooms 2-7 visitors will find paintings from the Trecento and Quattrocento, including "The Duke and Duchess of Urbino". These tableaus, created by Piero della Francesca in 1460, are portraits of Federico da Montefeltro and his wife Battista Sforza, and are some of the first portraits painted during the Renaissance. Notable is the Duke's peculiar nose, broken by the stroke of a sword.

Room 8 is dedicated to Filippo Lippi, though the rooms dedicated to Botticelli (10 to 14) are those that attract the greatest number of viewers. The reason is that these house some of history's most famous works of art, such as "La Primavera" and "The Birth of Venus".

Further on, when you get to Room 18, pay attention to the room itself - an octagonal room originally called La Tribuna. It was here that the Medici kept their most valuable objects and works – an impressive room with a nacre-adorned ceiling created by the architect Bernardo Buontalenti in 1584.

Another of the paintings of incalculable value in the museum is the "Holy Family" by Michelangelo. The artist created this work for the wedding of Angelo Doni and Maddalena Strozzi, signifying the union of two of the most important families of the time. In this creation, Michelangelo dared to break with the tradition of portraying the Child in the lap of the Virgin. In addition, its colour, form and arrangement were a source of inspiration for many artists.

Also, do not forget to take in the "Venus of Urbino", painted by Titian in 1538. This is a deliberately erotic image that caused much controversy in its day, to the point where it was described by Mark Twain as "the foulest, the vilest, the obscenest picture the world possesses ". Seeing it today, of course, one wonders what the fuss was about. 

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