TipQueues to enter the Uffizi Gallery can be very long, especially during the summer and weekends. To avoid the queues buy your ticket online.
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence (Galleria degli Uffizi) is part of a select group of museums in the world that should be on everyone’s list. Its collection of artworks is breath-taking and, having opened to the public in 1765, it is one of the oldest museums in the world.
The collection is spread over almost ninety rooms and is organised in chronological order. It includes paintings and sculptures from the period between the 14th and the 19th century. Among the highlights of the collection are:
- The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli (1486), depicting the goddess Venus emerging from the sea and standing on a seashell
- Doni Tondo by Michelangelo (1507), the only finished panel painting by the mature Michelangelo to survive
- Venus of Urbino by Titian (1538), the erotic painting of a nude young woman reclining on a sofa
- Medusa by Caravaggio (1597), showing the Gorgon from Greek mythology with the face of a woman and living venomous snakes in place of hair
- Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci (1475), painted together with his teacher Andrea del Verrocchio
Other Italian masterpieces are by Raphael, Filippo Lippi, Giotto, Piero della Francesca, Gentile da Fabriano, Paolo Uccello, Veneziano and many others. But the collection also includes works from outside Italy, most notably the ones by Dutch and Flemish painters like Rembrandt and Rubens.
The building in which the museum is housed was commissioned in 1560 by Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, to accommodate the offices of the Florentine magistrates. This is the origin of the museum’s name, since the Italian word uffizi means offices. In 1737 the last Medici heiress, Anna Maria Luisa, ensured that all the art collected over nearly three centuries would remain in Florence, thus forming the basis of the Uffizi collection.
Part of the famous Vasari Corridor runs through the Uffizi. This elevated and enclosed passageway connects Palazzo Vecchio with Palazzo Pitti, and was built to allow the Grand Duke of Tuscany to move freely between his residence and the government palace. The Uffizi section of the Vasari Corridor houses the museum’s collection of self-portraits.