Galleria degli Uffizi (Uffizi Gallery), Florence

Galleria degli Uffizi (Uffizi Gallery), Florence (must see)

If you had to choose just one Renaissance location to visit in Florence, or even in the entire world, the most obvious and compelling choice would be the Uffizi Gallery. Housed in the Palazzo degli Uffizi, originally intended as the offices of magistrates (hence the name "uffizi"), this magnificent structure was constructed in the 16th century by Giorgio Vasari for Cosimo Medici, the first Duke of Florence. Not only did it serve as a governmental building, but it also became an ideal space to house the Medici family's remarkable art collection. Since 1765, the gallery has been open to the public and has grown to become one of Florence's most popular tourist attractions.

The displayed here must-see works of art include Sandro Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" and "Adoration of the Magi", not to mention the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio and other eternal greats. The collection is truly magnificent and it's easy to lose track of time while immersing oneself in its splendor.

While paintings and sculptures are the main draw for visitors, the gallery's interior decoration, particularly the intricate ceilings, is equally spectacular and deserves attention. With over 50 lavish rooms to explore, it can be challenging to absorb everything in one visit. Therefore, taking a break and recharging at the on-site café with a terrace is highly recommended. Among other delights, you'll be treated to unparalleled views that cannot be experienced elsewhere.

Due to its world-class status, the museum is perpetually bustling with visitors, and long queues, sometimes lasting hours, are not uncommon, especially during peak seasons. Those who book their tickets in advance through the official website enjoy a significantly shorter wait time and may even get discounted rates.

***FLORENCE PALACES WALK***
The Uffizi's internal courtyard is a long and narrow space that opens towards the Arno River through a Doric screen. This unique architectural feature, which allows for an uninterrupted view, is considered by historians as the first standardized streetscape in Europe. Vasari, who was both a painter and an architect, accentuated the perspective length of the courtyard by adorning it with the matching facades' continuous roof cornices, unbroken cornices between storeys, and the three continuous steps on which the palace-fronts stand. In the 19th century, niches in the piers alternating with columns of the Loggiato were filled with sculptures of famous artists.

***MICHELANGELO'S MASTERPIECES***
During the first eight years of the 1500s, Michelangelo not only sculpted his iconic "David" and the "Bruges Madonna" but also chiseled seven additional sculptures and four smaller statues for an altar. He also accepted painting commissions, and one of his works displayed in the Uffizi is the "Doni Tondo" ("Holy Family"), completed in 1504. This round-shaped painting, nearly four feet in diameter, vividly portrays the Virgin Mary, the Christ Child, and St. Joseph. The juxtaposition of vibrant colors in this artwork foreshadows Michelangelo's later use of color in his renowned frescoes on the Sistine Ceiling.

It is argued that Michelangelo used this painting to defend the Maculist perspective, a philosophy of the Dominican order that rejects the concept of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. According to the Maculist view, Mary's sanctification occurred at the moment of Christ's incarnation, rather than at her birth. Thus, the image depicts the moment of Mary's sanctification, as the Christ Child blesses her. Michelangelo portrays Christ as if he is emerging from Mary's shoulder to take human form, with one leg hanging limply and the other not visible, emphasizing his integration with Mary.

Tip:
If you decide to visit, please note that no liquids are permitted on the premises. You may consider arriving an hour or two before closing time to obtain a ticket without having to wait in line. Good luck!

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Florence. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Galleria degli Uffizi (Uffizi Gallery) on Map

Sight Name: Galleria degli Uffizi (Uffizi Gallery)
Sight Location: Florence, Italy (See walking tours in Florence)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Florence, Italy

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